Chaos has erupted for countless students as a week-long series of train strikes have commenced today.
The strikes are a direct consequence of an ongoing dispute over pay, majorly inconveniencing commuters and, in particular, students.
A significant number of students are bracing themselves for a challenging week ahead. Unpredictable delays, cancellations, and overcrowded platforms are anticipated throughout the strike period. For students who heavily rely on trains to access their universities and colleges, the uncertainty of whether they will make it to class on time, or at all, has become a major source of stress.
Lindsey, a mother, says “The strikes are incredibly inconsiderate of people’s time… my daughter lives over 40 minutes away from college, we rely on trains, we don’t know how she’s going to get there tomorrow.”
South Western Railway, one of the key operators affected by the strikes, is advising passengers not to travel unless absolutely necessary- which, for students aiming to maintain a good attendance record, it is. The company also warns of a significantly reduced service, operating on a limited number of lines during the strike period.
London Waterloo station, one of the city’s busiest train stations, witnessed scenes of chaos this morning. Concerned commuters, including students, flooded the station, forming long queues to check announcement boards and seek information from staff. However, after rush hour, the station was left almost empty. This afternoon, commuters have stated that train stations are “way quieter than expected.”
A staff member at London Waterloo station has advised people to “avoid travel during rush hour” and emphasised that “the trains were packed this morning.”
Adding to the chaos, the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) union has announced two 48-hour strikes on the London Overground scheduled for February 19 and March 4. Simultaneously, London Underground users are facing with disruptions on the Central Line, where services have been suspended between North Acton and Ealing Broadway due to a points failure. The Tube’s busiest line continues to face severe delays and a shortage of available trains, further challenging students to make their journey to class.
– Caroline Pontin