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Rail strikes to hit travellers during bank holiday weekend

Train at platform in Paddington Railway Station, London

Thousands of travellers are to face severe disruption this bank holiday weekend as rail workers are to hold further strike action.

Around 20,000 members of the RMT union at 14 different rail companies will walk out on Saturday, August 26.

The strike over a long-running pay dispute coincides with major events like the Notting Hill Carnival and the Reading and Leeds festivals.

Read More: More Travel Chaos As Aslef Train Drivers Announce New Strike

This marks the 24th strike by the RMT since last summer.

​​It means a reduced timetable across much of England, with some services in Scotland and Wales also affected. 

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About half of normal train services will be operational, with many routes experiencing delayed starts and early finishes.

Ticket office closure plan

A plan to close ticket offices in England has further incensed the rail unions.

It'll lead to threats of more strikes if a resolution isn't reached. 

Transport Focus, an independent passenger watchdog, said a public consultation on the plans had received 460,000 responses before the Friday, September 1 deadline.

Read More: ScotRail Train Drivers Approve New Pay Deal

The Rail Delivery Group, representing operators, said the strike was "designed to deliberately target passengers who want to enjoy various sporting events, festivals, and the end of the summer holidays".

The Night Time Industries Association criticized the strike as "reckless." 

The trade group said it would leave major events like the Notting Hill Carnival and Reading & Leeds Festival "in chaos as ticket holders attempt to navigate a limited transport network".

The RMT and Aslef, the train drivers' union, have been conducting strikes since last summer, severely impacting the rail network. 

The RMT said the fresh strike resulted from not receiving an improved offer after rejecting the industry's latest proposals in the spring.

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Mick Lynch, the general secretary of RMT, said: "The strike has to be effective.

"We haven't got a plan to disrupt anybody's particular activities but that is the busiest day for the railway and members have decided that's the way they want to go."

However, more action is scheduled for September 1 to 2.

Aslef workers are striking on Friday and RMT members again on Saturday.

In addition to the strikes, engineering works will further disrupt travel over the next few days. 

Network Rail will install over 7,500 meters of new track, 2,400 sleepers, and almost 15,000 tonnes of ballast across the country during the long weekend.

One contentious issue contributing to the strikes is the plan to close ticket offices,.

It has drawn backlash from various groups, including disability advocates. 

They argue that reduced staffing could leave passengers vulnerable during early mornings and late nights.

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