CROSS-BORDER services will not reach three major Scottish cities tomorrow as the nation is hit by a one-day train strike.

The development comes as Scotland recovers from a UK-wide stoppage on Wednesday that meant less than one in ten of normal ScotRail services were operating.

Train drivers at seven rail companies will stage a one-day strike tomorrow in a worsening dispute which is causing travel chaos across the country.

Among the companies that that will be hit by the action is LNER, which connect Scotland and England along the east-coast railway line.

LNER has advised travellers to avoid travel tomorrow because of the industrial action.

While operating an extremely limited service from London to Edinburgh, it has been confirmed that there will be no onward trains to Aberdeen, Inverness and Glasgow Central.

The former route of the Flying Scotsman which connects the capitals of England and Scotland via Yorkshire, York, Durham and Newcastle carries over 20m passengers a year.

The last train between Edinburgh and London will be at 4.30pm.

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The train drivers' union has announced members from two more rail companies, both which provide cross-border services, will walk out on Saturday August 13, saying the firms failed to make a pay offer to help members keep pace with increases in the cost of living.

Aslef members with cross-border train operators LNER, CrossCounty and Avanti West Coast will be taking part in the industrial action.

Cross-border train operators Avanti West Coast and CrossCountry joined the dispute with 92.6% and 93.2% voting for strike action respectively.

A separate strike by some 40,000 members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union within the rail infrastructure owners Network Rail and 14 train operating companies crippled services on Wednesday.

That came after talks over pay, jobs and terms and conditions failed following what was billed as the biggest rail strikes in 30 years over three days in June.

Just five ScotRail routes in the central belt were operating between 7.30am and 6.30pm on Wednesday, while workers picketed stations.

There is expected to be further disruption as Network Rail Scotland signallers and maintenance staff, who are in safety-critical roles, will also take industrial action on August 18 and 20.

Talks were expected to resume yestrday but there is little sign of the deadlock being broken.

Members of the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) at Avanti West Coast also walked out on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the spectre of a general strike in the UK was raised after RMT union boss Mick Lynch warned of escalating industrial action if a new Conservative prime minister moved to curb workers’ rights this autumn.

HeraldScotland:

The RMT secretary-general warned of “the biggest resistance mounted by the entire trade union movement” adding he would campaign for the Trade Union Congress to call a general strike if anti-union plans such as those supported by Conservative leadership candidates Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak were enacted.

Both of Boris Johnson’s potential successors have said they would ban strikes on essential public services such as rail. Ms Truss has gone further in promising to legislate for minimum service levels on critical national infrastructure in the first 30 days of government.

Meanwhile, Network Rail has formally started the legal consultation process with unions on the maintenance reforms it says are needed to modernise and improve productivity and efficiency, one of the issues at the centre of the current wave of strikes.

NR said the proposed reforms are aimed at improving safety for employees and passengers, boosting train service performance, and saving money.

Andrew Haines, Network Rail chief executive, said: “The way people live and work has changed since the pandemic. On the railway, that means significantly fewer commuters and significantly less income.

“This year we’ll see a shortfall of around £2 billion compared with 2019.

“It would be wrong to fund this deficit through increases in fares or taxes when we know that some of our working practices are fundamentally broken.

“That’s why we must make progress with modernising the way we carry out maintenance work and making the savings that are necessary for the future of our railway.

“We haven’t given up on finding a negotiated way forward. We have made a good pay offer and our door remains open, but we can’t continue to circle the same ground day after day, week after week and not move forward.

“These reforms are too important, especially given we started these conversations 18 months ago. It is vital that we progress our modernisation plans to help put our railway on a sustainable financial footing for the future.”

NR said its proposed reforms to its maintenance organisation will deliver quicker fault fixes by “multi-disciplined response teams” and greater use of “smart meter” technology flagging issues to controls rooms before key equipment failures.

NR also wants “multifunctional teams” it says will enabling the company to send three mixed specialists in one van to fix a fault rather than two specialist teams in two vans.

“We have a raft of labour and life-saving technology that have been stuck in ‘trade union consultation’ for over two years, holding up the deployment of vital safety upgrades that are ready to be rolled out,” said NR.

It added that the proposed reforms would likely lead to a smaller maintenance workforce – from around 10,000 to around 8,000, but it said it did not expect to have to make any compulsory redundancies, with changes made through voluntary severance, retraining and redeployment.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “The railway must reform and modernise, yet all attempts to do this have been stopped in their tracks by the RMT, opting for more destructive strikes and dismissing Network Rail’s very fair pay deal without even giving their members the option to consider it.

“During the pandemic, Government provided unprecedented support committing £16 billion – or £600 per household – to keep our railways running throughout the pandemic while ensuring not a single worker lost their job.

“While we still encourage RMT to join talks and find a solution to this dispute that is fair for all, it’s clear now that no deal was ever going to be good enough for the RMT, and they have left Network Rail no choice but to go ahead with these essential modernisations with or without their support.

“We want to create a railway that works better for passengers and is financially sustainable for the long term. This is a platform for change and an opportunity to build a truly great railway that is fit for the 21st Century and meets the needs of the modern-day passenger.”