Got a TV Licence?

You need one to watch live TV on any channel or device, and BBC programmes on iPlayer. It’s the law.

Find out more
I don’t have a TV Licence.

Summary

  1. Updates on Tuesday's one-day strike by Greater Anglia staff
  2. Picket lines at Colchester North, Ipswich and Norwich stations
  3. RMT union wants guarantees on guards on trains
  4. Greater Anglia says no guards will lose jobs during its franchise
  5. Another 24-hour action planned for Thursday

Live Reporting

By Philippa Taylor

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. Calling it a day

    As services seem to be running to normal at the moment we're calling it a day for our live coverage.

    There's due to be a second strike on Thursday, so we'll bring you more details on this tomorrow.

  2. Little disruption to rail services

    We're in rush hour during the first of two strikes by RMT union members at Greater Anglia but, according to the train company's website, there appears to be little disruption to services.

    A train late out of the depot has caused the most problems, cancelling the 16:56 from Colchester Town to Colchester and disrupting a London Liverpool Street to Colchester Town service.

    The 16:39 London Liverpool Street to Stansted Airport service will be started at Stratford due to trespassers on the track.

  3. RMT accuses Greater Anglia of putting strike-breaking before safety

    The RMT says it has written to MPs and the rail safety operator alerting them to two incidents this morning where it claims Greater Anglia's decision to train backroom staff as guards ahead of the current industrial action could have had "potentially catastrophic consequences".

    The union says: "The first was the 05:10 Norwich to Sheringham service where, despite the signal being at red, the person utilised as a guard gave two bells for the train to leave Cromer station.

    "It was only because the driver noticed the error that the train did not pass the red signal and an accident was avoided.

    "The second incident was on the 06:15 Colchester to Ipswich service where the driver became aware that the person utilized as a guard did not know where to operate the door key switch, as a result the driver, unlike Greater Anglia, put passenger safety first and refused to continue the service."

    Greater Anglia's train service delivery director Richard Dean responded to the comments: "Customer safety was not compromised in these incidents.

    "Correct safety procedures were applied to ensure this was the case.

    "These sorts of incidents occasionally happen with our usual conductors. They will be fully investigated in the usual way.

    "Our stand in conductors have been fully trained and had to pass competency, safety and medical tests.

    "It is worth noting that such incidents would be avoided completely with our proposals to move to a system where the driver opens and closes the doors at every station."

  4. '100% support' for industrial action from RMT guards

    We've put calls in to the RMT to try to gauge the level of support today's industrial has had among its guards working for Greater Anglia.

    Spokesman Geoff Martin said all their guards on the network, numbering more than 200, have supported the strike and not crossed any picket lines.

    He said they have a "small number" of members who are train drivers (most drivers join ASLEF), and they have not crossed picket lines either.

    We also spoke to Greater Anglia, to ask them how many cancellations there had been due to the industrial action.

    Their spokeswoman said there had been none, but that the 06:15 Colchester-Ipswich service did not run this morning due to train crew issues.

  5. Female passenger 'would feel safer with guards'

    Jan Plummer spoke to the BBC and said: "I have been a commuter to Chelmsford and know there have been incidents on trains, which makes you very scared, especially if it's later at night.

    "As a woman, I would feel safer with a guard.

    "It's scary enough already if the guard's at one end of the train and I would find it scary and it would probably put me of travel [if all guards disappeared]."

    View more on twitter
  6. Your comments: Security aspect of guards on trains

    Keith and Kathy Robinson have been in touch with us via the "Get involved" link at the top of this page, to recount a recent experience while travelling to Norwich on the train.

    They say: "A young man (of middle eastern appearance) was sitting across the aisle from us and was behaving, in what we thought, was a rather strange manner.

    "On reaching Colchester, he asked the name of the next station. He then stood up, fiddled with his mobile 'phone and left his seat, leaving a small rucksack on it.

    "We sat for a few minutes, uncertain as to what we should do, when we saw the train guard enter the carriage. I called him and told him of our concerns. As we were talking, the young man returned to his seat, collected his rucksack and walked down the train.

    "If there had been no guard on the train, our only alternative action would have been to pull the communication cord and stop the train. This would have caused massive disruption and untold cost!!

    "In this age we live in, when security is paramount, this incident highlighted the need for guards on trains to ensure the safety of passengers and we fully support the argument to retain them."

  7. Greater Anglia repeats its guarantee to the RMT

    Greater Anglia's delivery director Richard Dean has set out the rail provider's stance regarding the concerns being raised by the RMT.

    He said: "We're not getting rid of our conductors, we've given a guarantee that we're keeping them throughout the whole of our franchise, which runs to October 2025.

    "We're proud of the work our conductors do, they look after our passengers very well and we want them to continue.

    "I think the issue is the one about who opens and closes the doors - on 60% of our trains the driver does that already, and has done for many many years.

    Train at platform

    "When we introduce our new trains, in a couple of years time, we want to move to a consistent 'driver opening and closing the doors' - it frees the conductors up from running around at door panels at stations and allows them to concentrate on looking after customers," he said.

    "When the new trains are delivered they have in-cab CCTV which shows the outside of every vehicle of the train so the driver, at the decision point when he's got to take the brake off and apply some power, he will be able to see the whole of the train and check if it's safe to move.

    "It's better rather than [having] a conductor who can't see the full length of the train telling the driver when to go."

  8. The RMT reiterates its concerns

    Steve Smart from the RMT union said they are taking industrial action because they want to "keep the guard on a train, and no extension of driver-only operation".

    He said their question to Greater Anglia is: "Will you guarantee or does your guarantee ensure there will be a guard on every train because currently if there isn't, the train won't run and we're not getting the assurances from Greater Anglia that they will give us that [referring to those trains that currently have guards]."

    Train at station

    Mr Smart continued: "It's not just the closing of the doors - you've got to ensure you've got a safe passage for the train to go away and the other thing is you've got a train dispatch and you get a signal from the man or lady on the station and that ensures us to get a safe dispatch.

    "We have a role to play, the guards have a role to play, when elderly people come up to the stations, disabled people come up to the stations. They are not guaranteeing that they [guards] will be on the trains.

    "What we're doing, purely and simply for our members, we are pursuing their cause for them."

    We'll bring you Greater Anglia's stance on the situation next.

  9. Your comments: RMT industrial action

    We asked earlier for your comments on the industrial action being taken by members of the RMT union who work for Greater Anglia.

    D&P Stone writes: "It is always disappointing that strikes seldom, if ever, have any impact on the management (and the negotiators) but it is always the consumers who suffer."

    Train with Greater Anglia employee on platform

    In another email, Hugh Rich, who describes himself as our "commuter from Whittlesford Parkway, writes: "Why do commuters have to bear the pain of train staff?

    "We can’t go on strike for all the things that ‘pish’ us off about the railways: like the spiralling (monopolistic) price rises of season tickets, ridiculously expensive car parking – in some cases a quarter of an annual season ticket bill, dirty, old and unreliable trains and an overall rubbish service.

    "Bring on automation is what we say."

  10. How does a rail operator decide which trains need conductors?

    Philippa Taylor

    BBC Local Live

    I've been speaking to Jonathan Denby, head of corporate affairs at Greater Anglia, about why some trains have conductors, and some don't.

    He said the move to driver-only trains began during the era of British Rail.

    The rationale was that a lot of services in and around the south-east,didn't need a conductor as most of the travellers were commuters with season tickets, but there were some at the barriers to check tickets.

    For a number of years, it's been the case that about 60% of trains operate with just a driver.

    Greater Anglia train at Ipswich station

    Twice-hourly services into Liverpool Street from stations such as Norwich, Ipswich and Colchester, have conductors because the balance of travel on intercity services is approximately 25% commuters, 25% business, and the rest "leisure" passengers.

    Mr Denby explained that on regional services, a significant proportion of travellers are using a train for leisure purposes, and they often travel from unstaffed stations, so they appreciate the opportunity of buying a ticket on the train.

  11. Images from Colchester

    Official picket
    Safety banner
  12. Images from Norwich

    Mike Liggins

    BBC Look East

    RMT banner
    RMT badges
  13. 'Business as usual' at Shenfield

    Essex commuter Jez Halford sent these photos from Shenfield station in Brentwood, where he said it was "business as usual".

    He got to work in central London on time, despite the Greater Anglia strike.

    Shenfield station
    Information boards at Shenfield
  14. RMT would be round the table 'like a shot' if they got reassurance about guards

    The RMT has said today's industrial action is taking place because they're not getting the assurances they want from Greater Anglia over the continued use of guards to close train doors.

    Regional organiser Steve Smart said he met with Richard Dean from Greater Anglia two weeks ago and the union gave them an option and a "way out" of the current dispute.

    "That was the Scotrail model, a franchise run by Abellio", he said.

    "If they were to come back and give us that we would be round the table like a shot signing papers with them."

    The Scotrail model referred to by Mr Smart has guards closing doors.

  15. Regular commuter 'working from home'

    An Ipswich man who is a regular commuter to Liverpool Street has told us he's not tried to make the journey to the capital today.

    Mark Deer said: "As soon as this was announced I changed my plans so I could work from home.

    "Even with the Greater Anglia team saying there's going to be no disruption you literally never really know, so better to work from home than not."

    Have you made a similar decision? We'd love to hear from you - you can contact us via the "Get involved" link at the top of this page.

    This leaflet is being handed out by RMT members:

    Leaflet being handed out by RMT members
  16. Support for RMT from one commuter

    We've had a quick word with one commuter at Colchester North who's told us he supports the Greater Anglia staff:

    View more on twitter
  17. Union claims strike action is 'rock solid' across England

    RMT union members working for four train companies across England are on strike today.

    RMT picket at Manchester Victoria
    Image caption: RMT picket at Manchester Victoria on the Arriva Rail North network

    Mick Cash, union general secretary, said workers were "standing absolutely rock solid and united" and claimed public support was "nothing short of fantastic as we mount picketing operations at all key locations".

    He said: "These strikes are about... putting the safety and security of the travelling public before the profits of private companies, profits that in the most part are shipped overseas to subsidise transport services in Europe. That is a national scandal. "It is disgraceful that we have been unable to get serious and meaningful talks going in any of these four disputes and that points clearly to the dead-hand of the Government driving the faceless railway policy on purely ideological grounds and demanding that their contractors fall in line. "RMT will not stand back while the guards, front-line staff when it ‎comes to safety, security and access, are thrown off Britain's trains for political and financial reasons."