RAIL STRIKES: The Standard’s Amy Gallivan reports on the impact to travellers

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SKEGNESS was once again left without any rail connection this morning (Thursday) as part of continuing one-day strikes involving members of the ASLEF union.

The union is in dispute wth East Midlands Trains over plans to cut pension contributions, which it fears could create financial problems for its members when they retire.

East Midlands Trains is running a number of replacement bus services around the county on strike days, but those on the Skegness line are only running between Nottingham and Boston - forcing Skegness visitors without a car to take the IC7 bus service between Boston and the coast for the final part of their journey,

This has more than doubled the journey time from Nottingham to Skegness on strike days.

Further strikes are scheduled for May 15 and 17.

Standard reporter Amy Gallivan braved the replacement service last week and saw first-hand what sort of impact the strikes have been having on travellers...

UNFORTUNATELY I had no other option but to travel during the train strike on Thursday night and oh what a journey it was, said Amy,

I deliberately bought my tickets, an off-peak return from Skegness to Nottingham, in the morning to avoid any possible delays.

I was greeted at the office, with “You do know there’s a strike today?” After asking for my tickets, to which I replied a reluctant “yes”.

Later that day, I found the Interconnect 7 bus service to Boston, which was due to leave at 4pm and was the intended way to get to the replacement coach service. It was surrounded by about 30-40 school students and I thought how can East Midlands Trains expect both passengers and commuters to board the same bus? If thet bus was full, remaining passengers would have found themselves waiting until 6pm for the next public bus, which was the last possible one of the day. However, everyone was able to board at this point and after about an hour, we were dropped at Boston Bus Station.

Myself and two very disappointed visitors from Sheffield, who were also travelling, had to firstly find the station and then wait about 45 minutes for the coach to leave - the local service and replacement coach having not been arranged to connect with each other - thanks!

Thankfully, we were allowed to board the coach to avoid being drowned by the rain and about 17 people got on.

Later we reached Grantham where we needed to board a train to Nottingham, which seemed great. However a 20 minute delay was incurred on the journey due to “equipment not being available on the line” and I officially arrived into Nottingham station at 8.40pm. So five-and-a-half-hours later I officially made it to my mother’s house just outside of Nottingham - a journey which usually, would have taken around two hours and 30 minutes on a good day.