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Rail strikes: city centres quieter as people heed advice to avoid travel

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theguardian.com

The first day of the biggest rail strikes in decades gave much of Great Britain a reminder of lockdown, with city centres quieter as millions avoided public transport, worked from home or took to their cars.About 80% of services were axed during the 24-hour strike by 40,000 members of the RMT union, leaving much of northern England, Wales and Scotland without any trains.

Of the few trains that ran and stations that remained open, most were quiet as passengers heeded advice to avoid travel.A one-day London Underground strike by another 10,000 RMT members compounded difficulties for those who needed to cross the capital by closing virtually the entire tube network.National rail services will start later in the day and with reduced schedules on Wednesday, owing to the knock-on effects of the walkout and striking staff in some overnight shifts.Talks are set to resume between Network Rail and the RMT, as well as between the union and train operators, before two more national 24-hour walkouts planned on Thursday and Saturday.Network Rail has ratcheted up the pressure on the RMT by giving notice that it will start the formal process to push through reforms to working practices and cut 1,800 maintenance staff, incorporating compulsory redundancies if necessary.

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