Are there train strikes today? Everything you need to know about July 2023 rail walkouts

Over a 12 months on from the beginning of the primary nationwide rail strikes because the Eighties, the dispute over pay, jobs and dealing circumstances seems as intractable as ever.

The primary rail union, the RMT, and the train drivers’ union, Aslef, have each introduced industrial motion throughout July that can hit greater than a dozen train operators based mostly in England; a few of which run companies in Wales and Scotland. Transport for Wales and ScotRail usually are not concerned and can run regular companies.

The unions say their members haven’t had a pay rise for 4 years and are demanding a good, no-strings award that takes under consideration the excessive stage of inflation.

Train operators and ministers – who should log out any deal – say reforms are important following the collapse of rail income, which they are saying is 30 per cent decrease than earlier than the Covid pandemic.

Caught within the center: the long-suffering passenger. Since June 2022, nationwide rail strikes have prompted issues for tens of thousands and thousands of train passengers. Stoppages have been referred to as steadily, inflicting huge disruption and making advance journey planning tough.

These are the important thing questions and solutions.

Who’s taking industrial motion, and when?

The RMT, which started hanging on 21 June 2022, has referred to as three extra days of walk-outs in July: Thursday 20, Saturday 22 and Saturday 29.

The strikes, which the union says will see 20,000 employees strolling out, are aimed toward train corporations contracted by the Division for Transport. They embody the main intercity operators:

  • Avanti West Coast
  • CrossCountry
  • East Midlands Railway
  • Nice Western Railway
  • LNER
  • TransPennine Specific

Most London commuter operators will likely be hit:

  • C2C
  • Higher Anglia
  • GTR (Gatwick Specific, Nice Northern, Southern, Thameslink)
  • Southeastern
  • South Western Railway

Operators specializing in the Midlands and north of England will likely be affected:

  • Chiltern Railways
  • Northern Trains
  • West Midlands Trains

Aslef has banned additional time on the identical train operators (besides C2C) from Monday 3 to Saturday 8 July inclusive.

Why had been these dates chosen?

Like all unions, the RMT and Aslef are searching for the largest affect – ie to trigger as a lot disruption as they will. Aslef’s additional time ban coincides with the primary week of the Wimbledon tennis championships in southwest London.

The RMT union is concentrating on what are probably to be the busiest days of the month. Many households will likely be on the transfer at the beginning of faculty holidays on 20 and 22 July; these dates additionally fall in the course of the fourth Ashes Check at Outdated Trafford in Manchester and the Open golf championship at Royal Liverpool Golf Membership.

The 29 July strike will hit journeys to and from vacation resorts in addition to cricket followers travelling to London for the fifth Ashes Check on the Oval.

Nigel Harris, editor of Rail journal, described the announcement as “monumentally miserable”.

How will the train drivers’ additional time ban have an effect on travellers?

All train operators depend on a specific amount of additional time/rest-day working to function their ordinary timetables. The affect of the Aslef motion from 3 to 8 July will range in accordance to how a lot the person train operator will depend on additional time, and likewise employees illness ranges.

GTR, the largest rail agency concerned by passenger numbers, is working a decreased timetable all through the Aslef motion from 3 to 8 July. No Gatwick Specific will run, whereas Nice Northern, Southern and Thameslink passengers may have a smaller alternative of trains. The corporate says: “Providers will likely be busier than ordinary, particularly in peak hours. It’s probably you will need to queue and you is probably not ready to board your chosen service. It is best to permit additional time to your journey.”

South Western Railway, which runs to and from Britain’s busiest rail station, London Waterloo, says: “As an alternative of creating quite a few short-notice amendments and cancellations to our commonplace timetabled companies for this week, we have now determined to present better certainty for our prospects by creating an amended timetable that we have now a excessive diploma of confidence we are able to reliably and safely ship every day.

“Total, companies will often be decreased to hourly in off-peak intervals with a small variety of cancellations in the course of the morning and night peaks. Some first and final trains may be cancelled.”

Most different operators say there ought to be little affect.

LNER says: “We anticipate to run a standard timetable throughout this time, nevertheless, it’s potential there will likely be short-notice alterations and cancellations. Please examine your full journey on the day of journey.”

CrossCountry says: “A small variety of companies could also be topic to late-notice cancellation or modification throughout this era.”

Why is Aslef taking industrial motion?

Mick Whelan, Aslef’s common secretary, stated: “As soon as once more we discover ourselves with no different however to take this motion. We have now regularly come to the negotiating desk in good religion, searching for to resolve the dispute.

“Sadly, it’s clear from the actions of each the train working corporations and the federal government that they don’t want an finish to the dispute. Their objectives seem to be to proceed industrial strife and to do down our business.

“We don’t need to inconvenience the general public. We simply need to see our members paid pretty throughout a value of dwelling disaster when inflation is operating at above 10 per cent, and to not see our phrases and circumstances taken away.

“It’s time for the federal government and the businesses to assume once more and search for a decision.”

Why is the RMT hanging?

The RMT common secretary Mick Lynch has described the newest provide from the train operators – represented by the Rail Supply Group (RDG) – as “substandard”. He stated: “This newest section of motion will present the nation simply how essential railway employees are to the operating of the rail business.

”The federal government continues to shackle the businesses and won’t permit them to put ahead a package deal that may settle this dispute.

“RMT will proceed its industrial marketing campaign till we attain a negotiated settlement on pay, working circumstances and job safety.

The RMT has staged walk-outs on 28 days within the present wave of strikes, with Aslef stopping work on 13 earlier events.

What’s the probably impact of the RMT strike?

On every of the strike days, 1000’s of trains will likely be cancelled, wrecking journey plans for thousands and thousands of passengers. Some traces will see no companies, and the place trains are operating they’re probably to begin later, be much less frequent and end sooner than regular.

All operators are probably to run some trains. LNER will run a daily service on the East Coast principal line between London and Edinburgh by way of Yorkshire and northeast England, whereas Avanti West Coast will likely be operating a fundamental service, with one train an hour from every of Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow to London Euston.

Nice Western Railway will run between London Paddington, South Wales (so far as Cardiff Central) and Devon.

Shorter distance companies across the large cities are probably to be arduous hit.

Passengers can anticipate regular service on:

  • Caledonian Sleeper
  • Grand Central
  • Heathrow Specific
  • Hull Trains
  • London Overground
  • Lumo
  • Merseyrail
  • ScotRail
  • Transport for Wales

Will airport trains run?

Gatwick, Luton, Birmingham and Manchester airports may have some trains.

Heathrow Airport is served by the Heathrow Specific and Elizabeth Line, in addition to the London Underground.

Stansted Airport is probably going to have trains to and from London Liverpool Road each hour from round 7am till the night.

Will Eurostar be affected?

No, however connections to and from the train operator’s principal hub at London St Pancras Worldwide will likely be tough as a result of union members working for all three home train operators on the station (East Midlands Railway, Southeastern and Thameslink) serving the station will stroll out.

What do the train operators say?

A spokesman for the RDG stated: “Extra strikes are completely pointless. After a 12 months of commercial motion all of the RMT has achieved is dropping their members extra money than they might have acquired within the pay presents they refused to put to put out to a vote, regardless of having agreed the phrases with the negotiators the room.

“We have now now made three presents that the RMT govt have blocked and not using a convincing clarification. We stay open to talks and we have now stated repeatedly that we wish to give our folks a pay rise.

“However till the union management and govt is united in what it needs and engages in good religion with the 30 per cent shortfall in income the business is constant to grapple with post-Covid, it’s tough to transfer ahead.

“Sadly our employees, our prospects and the communities throughout the nation which depend on a thriving railway are those which are struggling in consequence.”

What does the federal government say?

A spokesperson for the Division for Transport stated: “The RMT management’s resolution to name strikes concentrating on two iconic worldwide sporting occasions, as kids and households start their summer time holidays, will disrupt folks’s plans throughout the nation.

“After a 12 months of commercial motion, passengers and rail employees alike are rising uninterested in union bosses enjoying politics with their lives.

“It’s excessive time the union leaders realised that strikes now not have the affect they as soon as did and are merely driving folks away from the railway.”

May the strikes be referred to as off?

Such is the antipathy between the events that it appears impossible.

I’ve a ticket booked for one of many strike days. What can I do?

Passengers with Advance, Anytime or Off-Peak tickets can have their ticket refunded with no charge if the train that the ticket is booked for is cancelled, delayed or rescheduled.

Train operators are probably to provide flexibility to journey on a variety of non-strike days.

Passengers with season tickets who don’t journey can declare compensation for the strike dates via Delay Repay.

What are the alternate options?

As all the time, long-distance coach operators – Nationwide Specific, Megabus and Flixbus – will maintain operating, although seats have gotten scarce and fares are rising.

What impact will the Aslef additional time ban have?

It’s going to range from one rail agency to one other. The variety of train cancellations will replicate the dependence on additional time on the specific operator, and likewise illness ranges on the day.

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