Rail strike: When is it and which trains are running?

Image source, EPA

Railway workers are going on strike on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

The action is expected to cause widespread disruption in England, Scotland and Wales.

When are the rail strikes?

The strikes are on 21, 23 and 25 June. But disruption is also expected on non-strike days, because of too few staff working.

Will any train services be running?

About 4,500 services, compared with 20,000 normally, will run during the strikes, according to Network Rail.

Trains that do run will start later and finish much earlier than usual – between 07:30 and 18:30.

There will also be no passenger trains running north from Glasgow or Edinburgh.

Why is the strike happening?

The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) has called the strikes over job cuts, pay and conditions.

It says members working for train companies have been subject to “pay freezes, threats to jobs and attacks on their terms and conditions”.

Network Rail plans to cut 2,500 maintenance jobs, the union says, as it tries to make £2bn of savings over the next two years.

The RMT says the jobs are safety critical, and cutting them will make accidents more likely.

Network Rail said it would not consider any changes that would make the railways less safe and that modernisation is needed.

Which train lines and services are affected?

RMT members include people working for Network Rail, which maintains the railways throughout Britain, as well as those employed by train operating companies.

Most major lines face disruption, including:

  • Avanti West Coast
  • C2C
  • Chiltern Railways
  • Cross Country Trains
  • Croydon Tramlink
  • Greater Anglia
  • LNER
  • East Midlands Railway
  • Elizabeth Line
  • Great Western Railway
  • Hull Trains
  • Northern Trains
  • South Eastern Railway
  • South Western Railway
  • TransPennine Express
  • West Midlands Trains

In addition to the RMT action, train driver members of the Aslef union are due to strike over pay at Greater Anglia on 23 June and 2 July and on Croydon Tramlink on 28 and 29 June and 13 and 14 July.

What about other rail operators?

Even operators whose workers are not striking expect problems.

Similarly, Transport for Wales – which is not in dispute with the unions – has warned of disruption because its trains use railways run by Network Rail.

On other lines, workers at GTR, which operates Southern, Thameslink, Great Northern and Gatwick Express, voted for action short of a strike – for instance refusing to work overtime.

And Island Line on the Isle of Wight voted against any action.

Can a strike be avoided?

The strike would be called off if all parties can reach an agreement – and last-minute talks between unions and rail bosses are set to continue on Monday.

But Treasury Minister Simon Clarke said the industrial action was likely to go ahead, and that there was “no point giving false hope” the strikes could be avoided.

Will I be able to get a refund?

The Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators, said: “If we cannot provide a service for customers due to strike action then we will refund customers.”

National Rail has published guidance covering different scenarios and ticket types.

If your train is cancelled, delayed or rescheduled, National Rail says you are entitled to a refund from the retailer you bought the ticket from.

If you have a ticket for one of the strike days, you can use it the day before, or until Tuesday of the following week.

Season ticket-holders who choose not to travel on strike days can claim compensation for those days.

People are being advised to check with operators about switching to other routes to avoid disruption.

Will I have to go to work?

The pandemic has made working from home more common. The Chartered Management Institute said it expected bosses to give staff flexibility to avoid the disruption where possible.

It said: “In terms of the direct impact on commuters, there’s no doubt it will be less than train strikes of two or three years ago.”

But not everyone will get that option. A “great divide” has emerged between people who can be flexible in such situations and those who have to come to work, it said.

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