How to get around during biggest rail strikes in modern history

Last-ditch discussions have failed and the biggest strikes in three decades are going forward on Tuesday (Picture: Getty Images)

The UK will grind to a halt this week as the ‘biggest strike in modern history’ is launched.

More than 40,000 transport workers from Network Rail and 13 major franchise operators across the country are due to stage three 24-hour walkouts amid a row over pay, jobs and conditions.

To add to commuter misery, a separate London Underground strike will also paralyse the capital’s transport system on Tuesday.

In an ideal world, all of us would be able to stay at home until the madness has calmed down.

But in reality, schoolchildren have exams, patients have hospital appointments and many people can’t work from home. 

Not to mention, festivalgoers are gearing up for the first Glastonbury in three years.

With this in mind, has put together a guide on dealing with the travel chaos. Good luck out there!

Commuters queue at a bus stop, during strikes on the underground rail service, in London, UK, on Monday, June 6, 2022. Commuters returning to work in London after the Platinum Jubilee holiday were met by a subway strike that disrupted journeys and prompted some to take expensive taxi rides or board packed buses. Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Commuters queue at a bus stop during strikes on the underground (Picture: Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Catch a bus

Buses seem like the next best option when you can’t catch your usual train – but passengers should expect them to be extremely busy with large queues to board.

Pupils sitting GCSEs and A-Levels have been warned to have a ‘plan B’ for getting to school – with the Department for Education confirming exams are not expected to be rescheduled.

While buses could be some people’s saving grace this week, strikes could be looming in July.

Staff at Arriva in Merseyside and Greater Manchester are balloting for strike action in a row over pay – with over 1,800 members of the Unite union involved in the dispute.

Unite has slammed the offer of a ‘pitifully low pay increase’ that involved a ‘maximum no strings pay increase’ of 3%, or a 6% increase which ‘includes reductions in sick pay and loss of Saturday enhanced pay’.

Both offers are ‘far below’ the current real inflation rate of 11.1%, they said.

An Arriva spokesman that the firm was ‘fully committed to reaching an agreement’, with the ballot due to close on July 4.

EMBARGOED TO 0001 MONDAY JUNE 20 File photo dated 29/04/22 of traffic on the M42 south of Birmingham. Motorists are being warned to expect a surge in traffic as train passengers switch to road transport during the rail strikes. Issue date: Monday June 20, 2022. PA Photo. The AA predicted that the worst affected roads are likely to be main motorway arteries, as well as rural and suburban areas. Drivers in Scotland and Wales are expected to face long queues as most railway lines there will be closed during the industrial action on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. See PA story INDUSTRY Rail Roads. Photo credit should read: Jacob King/PA Wire
Driving is still an option but motorists are being warned to expect a surge in traffic (Picture: PA)


If you have a car, you can always drive to where you need to be – but there’s a catch.

Motorists have been warned a huge surge in traffic is ‘inevitable’.

Main motorway arteries are expected to be the worst impacted, while rural and suburban areas will also suffer.

With events like Glastonbury and the Goodwood Festival of Speed coming up, people have been urged to give these areas a wide berth.

Traffic builds up on the A303 near Stonehenge in Wiltshire before the August Bank Holiday. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday August 28, 2020. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
Be prepared to pay up for taxis (Picture: PA)

Grab a taxi

Local taxi companies and big firms like Uber and Bolt will be running as usual this week.

But beware – some companies are known to hike prices by as much as 150% when demand surges.

A spokesperson for Uber said the firm was expecting ‘significant increases in demand’ and didn’t rule out surge pricing.

A visitor carrying last day bargains on her bicycle during the plant sell-off, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London. Picture date: Saturday May 28, 2022. PA Photo. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA Wire
The competition will be on for bike hires (Picture: PA)

Hop on a bike

Cycling is often quicker than trying to squeeze on buses on strike days.

Halfords is offering train commuters with valid season tickets the chance to use an electric bike for free to get to work.

The retailer will be offering loans at all of its 404 stores nationwide to help those impacted.

In London, hiring a Santander Cycle costs £2 for unlimited journeys up to 30 minutes, within a 24-hour period.

Other companies you could try include JUMP, Beryl and Lime.

The bikes available are likely to go fast though, so act fast.

Commuters walk over London Bridge during warm weather in London, Britain, June 17, 2022. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Walk to work in the sunshine if you’re got the time (Picture: Reuters)


Walking could be an option for some people not afraid of a little exercise.

Although this, of course, depends on how long their route is.

If you live in London, this map is handy as it tells you how long it will take to walk between stations.

Other alternatives could include staying at a friend’s house, or if you were really desperate, renting a hotel room in the area you’re aiming for the night before.

Passengers board a train at Hunts Cross Station, Liverpool. MerseyRail has announced all trains will stop tomorrow due to industrial action. Picture date: Monday June 20, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story INDUSTRY Rail. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Schoolchildren with exams and festival-goers heading to Glastonbury face chaos (Picture: PA)

You could try the trains…

Only around half of Britain’s rail network will be open on strike days – with around 20% of services running on lines, Network Rail has said.

Lines will have reduced running times and only be open from 7.30am to 6.30pm.

Only 60% of services will run on days between the strikes – 22 and 26 June, with a special timetable for 20 to 26 June published.

The Underground strike on Tuesday includes all Tube lines: Circle Line, Jubilee Line, District Line, Hammersmith and City Line, Metropolitan Line, Northern Line, Central Line, Victoria Line, Bakerloo Line, Piccadilly Line, and the Waterloo & City Line.

The London Overground, the Elizabeth line and London Trams will be disrupted.

Rail strikes will wipe out more than half of the trains heading towards Glastonbury Festival, it has been confirmed.

People who have to travel are urged to look ahead to make sure that they can actually complete their journeys.

Commuters walk along the concourse after arriving at London Waterloo railway station in London, UK, on Monday, June 20, 2022. Britain's biggest train strike in 30 years is set to upend travel Tuesday as the world's oldest railroad struggles to redefine its role in a commuting landscape transformed by the coronavirus crisis. Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Limited lines will only be open from 7.30am to 6.30pm (Picture: Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Work from home

Ultimately, rail operators have warned that any commuting is likely to be nightmarish and it’s best to work at home on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

A No 10 spokesperson has said it is up to individuals to decide but has encouraged companies to allow people to not travel into workplaces.

‘As during the pandemic, it obviously remains sensible for public- and private-sector organisations to offer flexible working arrangements for some jobs’, they said.

However, they noted there are some jobs where home working will not work.

cancelled trains
It’s best to stay home if you can (Picture: Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images)

Keep updated

An industry leader has expressed hope that strike action could be averted at the last minute.

Praising rail staff, but calling for an end to the crisis by bringing in ‘modern work practices’, he said: ‘There is room for compromise.

‘We have got to work together, but we can resolve it. This is resolvable.’

Keep updated on developments throughout the week on

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].

For more stories like this, check our news page.

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