National Rail website shuts down as train strike chaos begins

The National Rail Inquiries website has ceased to function. Passengers attempting to use the service to find out which trains are running during the rail strike receive a message stating: “500 Internal Server Error”.

A usually busy Euston station in London was nearly deserted on Tuesday morning, with only a tiny fraction of the usual crowd of commuters in attendance. Just over two dozen people waited for a reduced number of trains during what would normally be rush hour.

And a usually busy Dover Priory rail station is deserted this morning as three days of rail strikes begin. The high-speed rail line to London St Pancras only operates today from Ashford International, meaning many commuters to London will work from home or drive into Ashford from surrounding towns to get to to the capital.

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There is a small picket of around 20 people in Dover, home of the RMT union, and so far this morning a small number of commuters have made it to the station before turning around and leaving. The station is completely blocked off to passengers, with flags and banners blocking the gates.

Around 40,000 members of Network Rail’s Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union and 13 train operators have walked out. RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said: “Grant Shapps can come to the table if he wants. I’m not particularly bothered if he wants to come to the table, that would be welcome as long as you come with a framework of goodwill.

“What he really needs to do is give the management of the rail operating companies and Network Rail the license to continue trading. By the minute he dictates what they say, he dictates what they can spend and it dictates that they have to make unreasonable changes in our industry.”

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