Rail strikes set to cause fresh travel disruption

Rail passengers are being urged to check before travelling next week because of strikes by drivers which will leave large parts of the country without trains.

Members of Aslef and the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) will walk out on February 1 and 3 in a long-running dispute over pay, jobs and conditions.

Special timetables will be published on Friday by the 14 train operators involved, with passengers warned to expect disruption.

Trains will start later and finish much earlier than usual on strike days – typically between 7.30am and 6.30pm – and train companies said they expected that nationally around 30% of services will run.

There will be wide variations across the network, with the possibility of no trains in some parts of the country and other lines running a normal service.

It is likely that evening services on some lines will be affected on the days before each strike, while morning services on those lines may also be disrupted on February 2 and 4 because much of the rolling stock will not be in the right depots.

(PA Graphics)

A spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group said: “Having made an initial offer which would have taken average driver salaries from £60,000 to nearly £65,000, we had hoped the Aslef leadership would engage constructively to move talks forward, rather than staging more unnecessary strikes. We can only apologise for the disruption.

“To minimise the impact of the Aslef action, we advise passengers travelling on February 1 or 3 to check before they travel, allow extra time and find out when their first and last train will depart.

“Those with tickets for between February 1 and 3 can use their ticket the day before the ticket date, or up to and including February 7.

“Passengers with Advance, Anytime or Off-Peak tickets for travel on strike days can also have their ticket refunded with no fee if the train that the ticket is booked for is cancelled, delayed or rescheduled.”

The following train companies are affected by the strikes:

– Avanti West Coast
– Chiltern Railways
– CrossCountry
– East Midlands Railway
– Great Western Railway
– Greater Anglia
– GTR Great Northern Thameslink
– London North Eastern Railway
– Northern Trains
– Southeastern
– Southern/Gatwick Express
– South Western Railway (depot drivers and SWR Island Line)
– TransPennine Express
– West Midlands Trains

Unions maintain the pay offer is way below the rate of inflation, while jobs and conditions would be affected by conditions attached to the proposed deal.