Due to a dispute over pensions, hundreds of train drivers are planning to go on strike in central England during the London Olympic Games, according to their trade union Aslef. Such a walkout could seriously disrupt the atmosphere of the games, leaving the host city disconnected from cities such as Nottingham and Sheffield.
As many as 450 train drivers are prepared to abandon their East Midlands Trains routes during a strike, Aslef said. The walkout is planned for Aug. 6-8. Meanwhile, the Olympic Games are scheduled for July 27-Aug. 12.
East Midlands Trains representatives say that if the drivers' strike is conducted as planned, they will do everything in their power to prevent service from stopping. Currently, the company is attempting to engage in more talks with the rail union in hopes of avoiding the walkout.
East Midlands Trains offers routes all across central England, including service to Derby, Mansfield, and Sheffield, with connections to larger English cities such as Leeds and Manchester. If East Midlands Trains service is disrupted, it could mean thousands of U.K. citizens and tourists being stuck without access to the Olympic Games for days.
Transport is already a difficult struggle for Britain, and many are worried the Olympics will place too much stress on the U.K.'s rail system. With the strike looming, it appears possible key areas of the country could shut down for a significant period of time during the games.