Everything you need to know about train cancellations this month and next (2023)

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Family holidays over the summer holidays will be affected by the next round of nationwide rail strikes at most schools in England.

Both major rail unions have called for walkouts during the break, which runs from May 27 to June 4.

On Wednesday 31 May and Saturday 3 June, Aslef drivers will stop working for more than a dozen companies, including all the major long-distance and local transport companies.

The RMT called a strikeby members working in 14 rail operators on Friday 2nd June.

The schedule means services could be disrupted from late Tuesday 30 May until the morning of Sunday 4 June.

The drivers' strike on 3 June coincides with thisFA-Cup-Finalbetween Manchester United and Manchester City, to be held at Wembley in north-west London.

Normally, tens of thousands of fans traveled to the match by train. It will also affect competitors traveling to the Epsom Derby.


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Since June 2022, national rail strikes over disputes over pay, job security and working arrangements have affected tens of millions of rail passengers. Outages were frequent, causing mass disruption and making it difficult to plan trips in advance.

The main railway union, theRMT, has held 24 strike days in the current strike wave, with Ashlef having walked out eight times previously.

These are the main questions and answers.

Who is on strike and when?

Aslef has ordered all train drivers from 16 railway operators to go on strike on Wednesday 31 May and Saturday 3 June.

Railway companies are commissioned companies of the Ministry of Transport. These include the leading intercity operators:

  • Avanti West Coast
  • cross country
  • East Midlands Railway
  • Great Western Railway
  • LNER
  • TransPennine Express

The vast majority of London transport operators will also be affected:

  • Greater Anglia
  • GTR (Gatwick Express, Great Northern, Southern, Thameslink)
  • southeast
  • Südwestbahn

Operators focused on the Midlands and North of England are affected:

  • Chiltern Railways
  • northern trains
  • West Midlands Trains

From Thursday, June 1, "non-contractual overtime" is also prohibited.

The RMT union has called its members on strike on Friday 2nd June. The same train operators will take part - apart from c2c, which runs services from the City of London to South Essex.

What will be the result?

In several previous RMT strikes, Network Rail signalmen have quit, shutting down at least half the rail system. You are now settled, so the network infrastructure should be open as usual.

However, on each day of the strike, thousands of trains are cancelled, disrupting the travel plans of millions of passengers.

The impact of driver and RMT failures will be different.

During previous driver strikes, some operators — Avanti West Coast and Southeastern, for example — canceled all trains.

Others have taken advantage of a basic service on basic routes. For example, on GWR travelers can expect essential services from London Paddington to and from Bristol Temple Meads and Cardiff Central.

The RMT exit is expected to have less impact. GWR is likely to offer a more extensive flight schedule, including to and from Exeter and Plymouth.

Avanti West Coast will run a core service, with one-hour trains each from Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow to London Euston.

The LNER is expected to run up to 40 per cent of normal East Coast mainline services, focusing on the London King's Cross-York-Newcastle-Edinburgh line.

On all strike dates, the vast majority of services in Scotland and Wales will run as normal as ScotRail and Transport for Wales are not involved in the disputes with Aslef and RMT.

On routes shared with English companies, such as Aberdeen-Dundee-Edinburgh and Swansea-Cardiff-Newport, some trains may be more crowded than usual.

Passengers can also count on regular service:

  • Caledonian sleep
  • Grand Central
  • Heathrow Express
  • trunk trains
  • London Underground
  • Lumo
  • Merseyrail

The ban on overtime for drivers is likely to affect long-distance train operators such as Avanti West Coast and TransPennine Express in particular.

In addition, some evening services before the strikes and early morning trains after the strikes will be cancelled.

Will Eurostar be affected?

No, but connections to and from the rail operator's main hub, London St Pancras International, will be difficult as union members who work for all three domestic rail companies (East Midlands Railway, Southeastern and Thameslink) serving the station will resign.

Why is Aslef taking industrial action?

Mick Whelan, Aslef general secretary, said: “We don't want to go on strike. We don't want to cause any inconvenience to passengers, we have family and friends who also use the train and we believe that investing in the train is the future of this country.

"But the blame for this action is clearly the employers who with their intransigence forced us to do it.

"The proposal - just 4 per cent - was clearly not designed to be passed as inflation is still over 10 per cent and our members in these companies have not seen any increase for four years."

Mr Whelan said the companies involved were "letting passengers and taxpayers down" and that "proposals to modernize Britain's railways and make them run more efficiently" had been rejected.

A spokesman for the Rail Delivery Group, which represents rail operators, said: “This is disappointing news for our customers and employees. More strikes are completely unnecessary and will only increase the pressure on an industry that is already in dire straits."

“It is pointless to aim for both the Eurovision Song Contest final and the FA Cup final, which is disappointing for anyone planning to attend.

“After weeks of negotiations with Aslef management, we have made a revised and fair offer which includes an 8% salary increase over two years. It would have introduced overdue logical improvements already being implemented to parts of the network, allowing more trains to run on time for passengers. Unfortunately, this was rejected."

Why is the RMT on strike?

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents rail operators, has made proposals for payment which the RMT says it cannot accept.

Union general secretary Mick Lynch said: "The Government is again not allowing the Rail Delivery Group to put forward an improved offer that we could consider."

“Therefore, we must continue our industrial campaign to reach a negotiated settlement on jobs, wages and working conditions.

“Ministers cannot simply wish this dispute to be resolved. You underestimate the emotional strength of our members who have just given us a new six month strike order, continue to support the campaign and action and are determined to see it through until we find an acceptable solution.

"The government must now unblock the RDG and allow them to make an offer that can be put to a referendum by our members."

A spokesman for Rail Delivery Group said: “In recent discussions with the RMT, we have continued to support the fair industry-wide dispute resolution proposal that we agreed line-by-line with their negotiating team, which would have resolved this dispute and given us gave the lowest salary.” Personal increase of up to 13 percent.

“By calling for more strikes, the RMT leadership decided to prolong this dispute without ever giving its members a say in their own offer.

"Instead, they will suffer even more lost wages from industrial action, customers will suffer even more disruption and the industry will continue to suffer huge losses while the railway takes more than its fair share of taxpayers to keep the trains running mode". .

"We remain open and ready to engage in talks at a national level so we can secure a pay rise for our people and the long-term future of an industry vital to the UK economy."

What does the government say?

Ministers will sign the final deal, which will be largely paid for by taxpayers.

Ahead of the latest strike, Transport Minister Mark Harper said: "Passengers have endured RMT strike action for almost a year, but the RMT leader is committed to continuing to force his members into even more pay cuts."

"And this despite the fact that there is a better and final offer, similar to the salary offer that Network Rail members recently voted overwhelmingly to accept."

Could the strikes be thwarted?

The antipathy between the parties is so great that it seems highly improbable.

I booked a ticket for one of the strike days. What can I do?

Passengers with Advance, Anytime or Off-Peak tickets can receive a free refund for their ticket if the train they were booked for is cancelled, delayed or postponed.

Rail operators are likely to offer flexibility for multi-day travel without a strike.

Passengers with non-arriving season tickets can claim compensation for the strike dates via Delayed Reimbursement.

What alternatives are there?


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The long-distance bus companies – National Express, Megabus and Flixbus – will continue to operate as usual, but places are becoming scarce and fares are rising.

On the day of the FA Cup Final, National Express are offering return tickets from Manchester direct to Wembley Stadium for £54 return.

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