The Enquirer revealed major cost saving plans last month as Network Rail chiefs prepare to transition to Great British Railways next year.
Unions fear Network rail is planning to scrap the front-line ‘operative’ role, abandon certain pieces of maintenance work and reduce the size of teams who maintain Britain’s railways.
The RMT union is now threatening the “biggest rail strike in modern history” as it prepares to ballot 40,000 rail workers.
The ballot opens April 26 and closes May 24 and any strike action could begin as early as June.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “Removing 2,500 safety critical jobs from Network Rail will spell disaster for the public, make accidents more likely and will increase the possibility of trains flying off the tracks.
“Train Operating Companies have praised our members for being key workers during the pandemic but have refused to keep staff pay in line with inflation and soaring living costs.
“As a result, thousands of railway workers have seen their living standards plummet and have run out of patience.
“The way for trade unions to effectively take on the cost-of-living crisis is to stand up for their members at work and take industrial action when employers are not moved by the force of reasoned argument.
“A national rail strike will bring the country to a standstill, but our members livelihoods and passenger safety are our priorities.”