Train strikes: All you need to know on week of disruption

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Rail users in England are facing disruption this week, as members of train drivers’ union Aslef hold an overtime ban and strikes.

The walkouts are the latest in a long-running row over pay and conditions.

Passengers should check before they travel, as disruption is expected across the network.

Separately, safety work will affect some services in Scotland.

Which train routes are affected and when?

Aslef members will refuse to work overtime from Monday 29 January until Tuesday 6 February. This may cause some cancellations and delays.

Much more severe disruption is expected on strike days between Tuesday 30 January and Monday 5 February.

Different operators are affected on different days, with some running no trains:

Tuesday 30 January: Southeastern, Southern, Gatwick Express, Great Northern, Thameslink, South Western Railway and SWR Island Line

Wednesday 31 January: Northern Trains, Transpennine Express

Friday 2 February: Greater Anglia, C2C, LNER

Saturday 3 February: West Midlands Trains, Avanti West Coast, East Midlands Railway

Monday 5 February: Great Western, CrossCountry, Chiltern

There will be no strike action on Thursday 1 February or Sunday 4 February.

Passengers are advised to check before they travel. The latest information can be found on National Rail.

Some of the affected train operators run services into Scotland and Wales.

In Scotland, there are no walkouts but there will be disruption to ScotRail services. This is because of safety work at Ratho railway station, to install netting to prevent rockfalls.

It will limit services between Edinburgh and Glasgow, Bathgate, Linlithgow, Stirling and Inverness.

Are there any rail strikes planned by other unions?

Industrial action by Aslef and the RMT union has meant huge disruption over the past couple of years.

In November last year, RMT members, including guards and ticket office staff, voted to accept a pay offer. This included a backdated pay rise of 5% for 2022-23 as well as job security guarantees.

Their acceptance means they will no longer be involved in industrial action until at least the spring.

However, talks with the RMT over future pay deals and working practices will continue.

Unions in disputes need to reballot members every six months to see if they want to continue with industrial action.

Currently, unions are obliged to give at least 14 days’ notice of any strike action.

Can I get my money back for strike days?

Rail passengers with advance tickets can be refunded fee-free if the train they are booked on is cancelled, delayed or rescheduled.  

If passengers have a return ticket they may also be entitled to a fee-free refund if any part of the journey is cancelled due to strikes.

Season ticket holders (flexi, monthly or longer) who cannot travel, can claim 100% compensation for strike dates through the Delay Repay scheme.

Aslef is seeking better pay for its members.

However, train operators say ways of working need to change for wages to rise, because of financial challenges and fairness to taxpayers.

Aslef says drivers are being asked to sacrifice working conditions in exchange for a below-inflation wage increase.

In April 2023, Aslef’s executive committee rejected 4% pay rises for two years in a row. This was on condition that they would accept industry-wide changes to driver training, and negotiate changes to work patterns at individual operators.

There have been no formal talks since.

The government controls how much money is on the table and has the final say over what is offered. Ministers and industry negotiators have urged the union to give members a vote.

How much are rail workers paid?

The average salary of rail workers in 2022 was £45,919, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

If drivers are excluded (because they tend to be members of the Aslef union, not RMT) its estimate is £39,518. However, the RMT union said that figure was too high because it does not include rail cleaning staff.

The ONS says median pay for “train and tram drivers” is just under £59,000.

The government passed a new law which means train companies can require enough staff to work on strike days to run 40% of services.

Currently, few or no services usually run when train drivers strike.

The Department for Transport said it expects employers to use minimum service levels “if appropriate to do so, and to deliver the best possible service”.

But none of the operators affected have done so and the new rules have yet to be put into practice.

Will you be affected by the strikes? Get in touch by emailing

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