Foo Fighters fans set for easier ride as rail strikes called off

The Foo Fighters.
The Foo Fighters.
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A planned rail strike over the Bank Holiday which would have crippled services and led to widespread travel chaos has been called off after Network Rail tabled a new pay offer.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union and Transport Salaried Staffs Association were due to walk out for 24 hours from 5pm on Monday after rejecting a proposed four-year pay deal.

The unions announced that the action was being suspended following the new offer, made during four days of talks at the conciliation service Acas.

Rail companies had already started cancelling services next week and warned passengers not to travel.

The action had been set to hit Metro and rail services into Sunderland as tens of thousands of fans descend on the Stadium of Light to see the Foo Fighters perform, supported by the Kaiser Chiefs and The Strypes.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Following the Acas talks, RMT has received a revised offer that enables us to suspend the planned industrial action while we consult in full with our Network Rail representatives.”

Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the TSSA, said: “Our negotiating team at Acas has received a revised offer from Network Rail.

“As a result of this, they have suspended the planned industrial action, pending the outcome of a meeting of our workplace representatives next week.”

Lawyers for Network Rail halted plans to take legal action against the TSSA in the light of developments.

Bruce Carr QC, for Network Rail, told a judge at a High Court hearing in London that Network Rail was not proceeding with an application for an injunction.

He told Mr Justice Jay: “There has been progress.”

The Metro

Nexus said all Tyne and Wear Metro services will now run as normal on Monday May 25 and Tuesday May 26 after a national rail strike was called off.

Trains had been due to be off between Pelaw and South Hylton.

All train services through Sunderland , including Metro, Northern Rail and Grand Central trains, will be able to operate as planned.

Services through Sunderland would have been affected by the strike because Network Rail owns the line and provides signalling and power control.

However, talks between Network Rail and the trade unions have concluded and the planned strike has been cancelled.

Extra Metro services will be operational between Pelaw and South Hylton to get people to and from the Foo Fighters concert at the Stadium of Light on Bank Holiday Monday, May 25.

Director of Rail and Infrastructure for Nexus, Raymond Johnstone, said: “This is good news for passengers as there will be no disruption to Metro services between Pelaw and South Hylton. Services can operate on Monday and Tuesday as usual.

“This means we will have a Metro service for people heading to the Foo Fighters concert in Sunderland, instead of deploying a special bus service between Heworth and the venue.

“I’d like to thank passengers for their patience while we waited to see if the strike was going to go ahead and apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

For more information about Metro services go to www.nexus.org.uk or call Nexus on 0191 20 20 747