Railway strikes in Devon and Cornwall impact the academic lives of students
The Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) announced that Great Western Railway (GWR) would join the strike action that took place in early October, causing disruption for many in Devon and Cornwall.
The disruption would continue until Sunday 9 October, as workers from the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) had also planned a march that weekend.
In an interview with BBC Radio Devon, James Davis from GWR warned that “Effectively for the branch lines in Devon and Cornwall, and for main line from Penzance going towards Plymouth and Exeter, there will be no rail services at all”.
Networks in other areas offered “extremely limited services” between 7:30 am and 6:30 pm.
It is the second time that the students and workers have been severely affected by this dispute after the middle of September. Students living nearby could not spend their weekends with family, or take the trains back to school due to the lack of service.
A third-year student from the University of Exeter was almost an hour late for their lecture on Friday 7 October. They stated that they had “overlooked the news about the strike, and went to Newton Abbot station as usual to take the train, but the platform staff told me that the train service was suspended until this Sunday”.
In light of disruption, students were force to find alternative solutions. One student said “I ended up taking the bus to Exeter” to attend their teaching sessions, as they were too important to miss.
I ended up taking the bus to ExeterA third-year student
Others asked their friends or course mates for temporary accommodation in Exeter to live in over the weekend, whilst others returned home before the strike started on Thursday.
One student commented: “We expect that rail strikes won’t happen anymore, even though we understand why the rail drivers stop working.”