Passport Office staff to launch a five week strike
The Public & Commercial Services Union has announced that over 1,000 Passport Office workers will launch a five week strike. The action will start on 3rd April and run to 5th May. Around 25% of Passport Office staff will be involved, with substantial delays in passport processing times predicted. Workers at Passport Offices in Durham, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Newport, Peterborough and Southport will join the strike. The Belfast office is still going through the process of balloting members. It has been timed to hit the peak of applications as passengers submit in advance of Summer holiday plans. The dispute is over an imposed 2% pay rise which the union believes is not acceptable.
Grand Union hopeful for Stirling-London approval
Grand Union has divulged more details of its planned service between Stirling and London. As reported in 2021 the open access operator wants to operate up to four trains a day which would run down the West Coast Mainline (WCML) to London Euston. By comparison LNER operates a direct but somewhat sparse service between Stirling and London covering the East Coast Mainline (ECML) to London Kings Cross. Avanti West Coast, the current London-Glasgow incumbent, operates no further north than Glasgow Central. It means passengers from Stirling bound for destinations along the WCML must change termini in Glasgow (from Queen Street to Central). Grand Union expects a decision from rail regulator ORR “soon”.
SNCF wants to launch Ouigo in Italy
SNCF have reported many times on Ouigo’s launch within Spain and how it is transforming rail travel within that country. Now comes news from France that SNCF wants to take Ouigo to Italy where it would compete with national operator Trenitalia and private Italo. Under a plan called “Allegro project”,Leparisien.fr reports that Ouigo would operate the new TGV-M units from April 2026. TGV-M are still being certified for mainline use. They are not currently in commercial service and they represent the future of high-speed (HS) rail in Europe.
Travel news as a glance:
Emirates debuts flagship A380 service to Bali.
Eastern Airways to link UK regions with Paris.
Lufthansa confirms resumption of A380 services to Boston and New York.
JetBlue finally gains approval for Amsterdam flights.
American Airlines reopens first class lounge at Heathrow.
TAP Air Portugal makes over €65 million profit in 2022.