Rail strikes: Industrial action means ‘very limited hours’ on Wednesday

Britain’s railways will stop on Wednesday in the latest round of strikes.

More than 40,000 railway workers belonging to the Railway, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union are taking part in another day of strike at national level, after three days of strike action in June.

RMT members from more than a dozen train companies and Network Rail will strike for 24 hours, affecting the rail network in England, Scotland and Wales, while parts of London’s transport network will also will be interrupted.

What Network Rail is calling a “very limited timetable” as only a fifth of rail services will run, while parts of the country will have no service at all.

Which lines will be affected and how?

Workers at 14 train companies are involved in the strike, which means large parts of Britain’s rail network will be affected.

Along with Network Rail, the companies involved in the RMT strikes are: Avanti West Coast; c2c Chiltern Railways; Fields across; East Midlands Railway; Great Western Railway; Great Anglia; GTR (including Gatwick Express); LNER; north; South East; South Western Railway; TransPennine Express and West Midlands trains.

The trains running on this day will start later than usual at 7.30am and will finish much earlier at 6.30pm.

Commuters in and around the capital will also be affected because Transport for London (TfL) uses some sections of track that are under the jurisdiction of Network Rail.

TfL has already warned it expects disruption on the Elizabeth line and the London Overground network, both of which will have reduced services, as well as parts of the District and Bakerloo tube lines.

The disruption is expected to continue across the entire rail network until Thursday morning.

What is the impact of a midweek strike?

Network Rail has warned passengers to travel by train only if necessary on Wednesday.

Commuters are among the hardest hit, as employees are more likely to travel to their workplaces in the middle of the week.

The strike also comes during the school holidays and because people want to get away for the summer.

I have a ticket but my train has been canceled or rescheduled – what are my rights?

If a train serving any part of your journey (outbound or return) has been canceled or rescheduled, you are entitled to a full refund from where you bought your ticket. There should be no fee for this. The National Rail website has a dedicated advice section for affected travelers which is a good place to start, while MoneySavingExpert also has a guide on how to claim.

Can I travel another day?

Yes. If you have an advance, off-peak or any-time ticket for the day of the strike, it will be valid for travel up to and including Tuesday 2 August. There is no need to change the ticket date. However, you should check the train company’s website as there are some exceptions. Avanti West Coast, for example, has given customers with tickets to travel from July 26-28 until July 29 to travel.

… or travel on another train service?

If you really need to travel on one of the strike days, you may be able to change train companies or routes, but your options will be limited. A revised timetable has been published and you should contact the relevant train company for your options.

I have a season ticket – will I be entitled to a full refund?

Only if your subscription is valid for one month or more. If this is the case, you can apply for a full refund for strike days through the industry’s Delay Reimbursement Compensation Scheme.

What if I bought my ticket through a third party such as Trainline?

Trainline said it would contact customers with an online refund for canceled or rescheduled trains. If your train is not affected by the strikes but your plans have changed, you can reschedule your journey free of charge or cancel it, but administration charges may apply.

What is the dispute about?

The latest strikes are part of an ongoing dispute over wages, jobs and conditions. It follows strikes at the end of June, when action by RMT members brought much of the network to a standstill.

Union leaders announced the latest strike after rejecting a new offer from Network Rail, which they described as “miniscule”.

The state-owned company, which runs rail infrastructure and most of Britain’s major stations, offered workers a 4% pay rise throughout 2022, followed by a possible further 4% in the new year, provided workers accept changes in their working conditions.

However, the RMT has described this as “attacks on its terms and conditions”.

Which unions participate in a strike?

Alongside the strike by RMT members, there will also be action by members of the Transport Salaried Staff Association (TSSA) who work for Avanti West Coast.

TSSA members working in various capacities, including box office and station staff, will join the strike on Wednesday. Members also expect to picket London Euston station and Crewe, Stoke-on-Trent, Stafford, Birmingham International and Coventry stations.

What strike is planned for the end of summer?

Further rail strikes are already planned for the coming weeks in what looks like a summer of discontent.

About 6,000 drivers from the Aslef union from eight train companies will join the rail dispute when they strike on July 30.

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A repeat of Wednesday’s action by RMT members at Network Rail and 14 train companies is planned for August 18 and 20. Metro workers will also strike again on August 19.

British Airways pilots are threatening to strike over pay, bringing further disruption to passengers after weeks of flight cancellations and long queues at airports.

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