A series of strikes and planned maintenance work will hit travellers riding the UK's national rail network over the bank holiday weekend, delaying and diverting many.
The First Great Western (FGW) rail line — which connects London Paddington, the Cotswolds, Thames Valley, and West Endland — is warning travellers of a potential strike between 29 August and 31 August.
Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union are disputing changes to staffing aboard the company's new Hitachi Inter City Express trains. The union worries buffet cars and guards will be done away with.
"We are continuing to meet with the RMT and remain hopeful that we can come to an agreement that will avoid the bank holiday strike going ahead," reads a statement issued by FGW.
Those travelling to the Reading Festival could face delays from the strike. "If the strike goes ahead, trains may be very busy and there will be limited food and drink services on-board," said FGW. "Last trains of the day are likely to leave significantly earlier than usual." The RMT union has so far instructed its Maintenance Grade members not to book any shifts Saturday or Monday.
British rail lines see fewer people travelling over the August bank holiday weekend, according to the Rail Delivery Group, which represents operators and Network Rail. This fact makes it a key time to carry out large maintenance projects.
The Southern rail line will have improvement work hit connections in the south in Sussex between Billingshurst and Arundel and Barnham, Balham and Crystal Palace and West Croydon, and London Bridge and Horsham from Saturday to Monday.
Improvement work on Virgin Trains lines between London and the West Midlands during the bank holiday will see passengers diverted to buses to finish their journeys, and other routes will also be affected.