Collapse in rail services after workers refuse to work overtime

By JOHN ELWORTHY REBELLING rail workers who refused to work overtime on Sundays led to a collapse in rail services through March and the Fens. Central Trains were forced to replace many services with buses after failing to find enough volunteers to work o

By JOHN ELWORTHY

REBELLING rail workers who refused to work overtime on Sundays led to a collapse in rail services through March and the Fens.

Central Trains were forced to replace many services with buses after failing to find enough volunteers to work overtime to cover two services which link the Fens with the Midlands and Norwich and with Stansted Airport.

A spokesman for Central Trains said the services from Norwich to Manchester were replaced totally by buses on all 12 scheduled services.


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Of the trains connecting with Stansted airport, 12 of the 22 trains which normally operate on a Sunday were replaced by buses.

"It is a problem which comes up from time to time," said the spokesman. "We inherited the problems from British Rail since our train drivers and conductors are not normally obliged to work on Sunday. Normally we have enough volunteers but on this occasion we didn't.

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"There were enough volunteers in Cambridge and Norwich but not enough in Nottingham and Birmingham."

The spokesman said Central Trains, which has twice had its franchise extended since winning the routes in 1997, was hopeful the new franchisees would be able to resolve the overtime issue.

The company's franchise expires on November 11 and the spokesman said the new franchise owners "are committed to talking to unions about putting Sundays into a normal working week."

The spokesman added that Central Trains was hopeful that services would operate normally this Sunday.

"It generally doesn't happen two Sundays in a row," he said.

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