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When is the next train strike in UK? Everything we need about January and February disruption

The dispute between the train drivers’ union, Aslef, and 14 train operators in England is into its third 12 months.

With no settlement in sight to the lengthy and bitter row over pay and working preparations, the union has introduced its first strikes for 2024.

Train drivers belonging to Aslef will cease work region-by-region over the course of per week between Tuesday 30 January and Monday 5 February. Thousands of trains are prone to be cancelled on every day.

The impact will likely be exacerbated by a nine-day ban on additional time working from 29 January to 6 February, and a further five-day strike on LNER solely from 5 to 9 February.

These are the key questions and solutions.

Which rail corporations are affected?

Aslef is in dispute with the train operators which might be contracted by the authorities to offer rail companies. They are:

Intercity operators:

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

London commuter operators:

  • C2C
  • Greater Anglia
  • GTR (Gatwick Express, Great Northern, Southern, Thameslink)
  • Southeastern
  • South Western Railway (together with the Island Line on the Isle of Wight)

Operators specializing in the Midlands and north of England:

  • Chiltern Railways
  • Northern Trains
  • West Midlands Railway

ScotRail, Transport for Wales, Transport for London (together with the Elizabeth Line), Merseyrail and “open-access” operators corresponding to Grand Central, Hull Trains and Lumo aren’t concerned. But their companies are prone to be extraordinarily crowded on stretches the place they duplicate strike-hit corporations.

What is the strike schedule?

Monday 29 January: additional time ban begins.

Tuesday 30 January: South Western Railway, Southeastern and GTR (Southern, Gatwick Express, Great Northern and Thameslink).

Wednesday 31 January: Northern and TransPennine Express.

Thursday 1 February: no strike however additional time ban continues.

Friday 2 February: Greater Anglia, C2C and LNER (the final of which has a further strike throughout the following week).

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

Sunday 4 February: no strike however additional time ban continues.

Monday 5 February: Great Western, CrossNation and Chiltern. LNER strike begins, working all week to 9 February.

Tuesday 6 February: no strike however additional time ban continues for a ultimate day.

Wednesday 7-Friday 9 February: LNER strike continues with a further additional time ban by train drivers.

Saturday 10 February: ultimate day for LNER additional time ban.

What are the doubtless results of the strikes?

Based on the expertise of the final rolling strikes, these are the predicted results – assuming no “minimum service level” motion is taken by the transport secretary, Mark Harper.

They are primarily based on The Independent’s remark of earlier strikes, and needs to be confirmed with particular person rail corporations.

Great Northern (30 January): No trains.

Thameslink (30 January): No trains.

Southeastern (30 January): No trains.

Southern (30 January): No trains besides a nonstop shuttle service between London Victoria and Gatwick airport, from 6am to 11.30pm.

Gatwick Express (30 January): No trains however the Southern airport shuttle will cowl the floor.

South Western Railway (30 January): A core service of as much as 4 trains per hour between London Waterloo with Woking, with one train every hour prolonged to each Guildford and Basingstoke. A shuttle will run from Basingstoke to Salisbury. Trains can even run between Waterloo and Feltham through Richmond and Twickenham. No trains on the Isle of Wight.

Northern (31 January): No trains.

TransPennine Express (31 January): No trains.

C2C (2 February): No trains

Greater Anglia (2 February): Limited service linking London Liverpool Street with Norwich, Ipswich and Colchester; Southend Victoria; Cambridge; and Stansted airport.

LNER (2 February and 5-9 February): Regular trains on core routes linking London King’s Cross with Leeds, York, Newcastle and Edinburgh.

Avanti West Coast (3 February): No trains. The operator is prone to emphasis “services on the days either side of the strike will also be affected”.

East Midlands Railway (3 February): No trains. Last time the train agency warned: “Do Not Travel. No Rail Replacement Bus services will be provided.”

West Midlands Railway (3 February): No trains.

Chiltern (5 February): No trains.

CrossNation (5 February): No trains.

Great Western Railway (5 February): A core service will run between London Paddington and Oxford, Bath and Bristol, with a link from Bristol to Cardiff. A restricted service on department strains in Devon and Cornwall. The Night Riviera sleeper service from London to Penzance won’t run for quite a lot of nights. The Heathrow Express is additionally prone to be affected, with a decreased service between 7am and 7pm solely.

In addition to the disruption on strike days, trains on adjoining days could also be affected. Services on nowadays are additionally prone to be extraordinarily busy as a consequence of passengers transferring their journeys to keep away from industrial motion.

What about the new minimal service ranges regulation?

Legislation now permits the transport secretary to stipulate minimal service ranges (MSLs) on strike days amounting to 40 per cent of the regular service.

LNER is the operator that is rumoured to be most definitely to serve a “work notice” on Aslef, obligating some union members to report for obligation. A spokesperson mentioned: “The MSL laws is a brand new software that has grow to be out there to us and we are exploring its use.

“Our precedence focus stays on minimising disruption to prospects throughout Aslef’s strikes, which sadly will proceed to trigger disruption and delays.”

The Transport Select Committee has warned of potential unintended penalties of the laws. The Conservative chair, Iain Stewart, mentioned: “There is a risk of MSLs worsening worker-employer relations and that, as a result, MSLs could end up making services less reliable.”

Is there a ‘worst day’?

Yes. In phrases of sheer variety of passengers hit, Monday 29 January will likely be the most disruptive. It is geared toward commuters in southeast England, the majority of whom use the affected train operators.

Intercity travellers will likely be worst affected on Friday 2 and Saturday 3 February, when the predominant operators on the East Coast and West Coast predominant strains, in addition to the Midland mainline, will likely be hit.

Sunday 4 February is additionally prone to be severely disrupted due to the ban on rest-day working in addition to deliberate engineering work between Birmingham and Wolverhampton on the West Coast predominant line and between London King’s Cross and Stevenage on the East Coast predominant line.

What will likely be the affect of the additional time ban?

The minimal service stage guidelines don’t apply to union bans on non-contractual rest-day working.

The additional time ban alone will trigger 1000’s of cancellations. Aslef says no train operator “employs enough drivers to provide the service they promise passengers and businesses they will deliver without asking drivers to work their days off”.

The normal warning to passengers throughout the final Aslef additional time ban from 1 to 9 December 2023: “Trains are subject to short notice alterations and cancellations.”

Several rail corporations introduced pre-emptive cancellations for the earlier additional time ban, as follows:

C2C: “Severely reduced service” at weekends, with many trains additionally lower on weekdays.

Chiltern: Significantly decreased service on most routes, with no trains in any respect on some department strains. “Services on all routes will finish earlier than usual.”

Gatwick Express: No trains throughout the additional time ban. Southern trains will link London Victoria and Gatwick airport all through the industrial motion.

London Northwestern Railway/West Midlands Railway: Branch strains between Bletchley and Bedford, Watford Junction and St Albans Abbey, and Leamington Spa and Nuneaton, will likely be closed on most or all days.

Southern: “An amended timetable with fewer services will run. Services may start later and finish earlier than usual.”

Thameslink warned: “A reduced frequency amended timetable will be in operation.”

On the first day, many early trains had been cancelled. They embody South Western Railway from London Waterloo to Southampton; Great Western Railway from London Paddington to Weston-super-Mare through Bristol and Carmarthen through Cardiff and Swansea; and TransPennine Express hyperlinks from Manchester and Newcastle to Edinburgh, in addition to quite a lot of Manchester-Leeds-Hull companies.

Sunday is nonetheless not a part of the working week at quite a lot of train operators, so 4 February will likely be notably disrupted by the ban on rest-day working.

Some trains could prohibit both boarding or leaving trains at sure stations to keep away from overcrowding.

What if I need to succeed in an airport?

Again, these are predictions primarily based on what occurred final time.

London Heathrow remained accessible always on the Elizabeth Line and the Tube.

Passengers utilizing London Gatwick will likely be considerably affected on the first day of strikes, Tuesday 30 January, when all Gatwick and Thameslink trains are prone to stop. But passengers between London, Gatwick and Brighton will get a good variety of trains

London Stansted had an hourly skeleton service from the capital on Tuesday 5 December, with “service alterations” on all the different days of the additional time ban.

Luton airport will stay accessible by rail, a minimum of from London, on all days: on the Thameslink strike day, 30 January. the East Midlands Railway link will likely be working; conversely on 3 February, when no East Midlands Railway companies are prone to run, Thameslink will likely be working.

Birmingham airport is prone to be inaccessible by rail, apart from Transport for Wales from Birmingham New Street, on Saturday 3 February.

Manchester airport is prone to be inaccessible by rail, apart from an hourly link on Transport for Wales to and from central Manchester, Chester and North Wales, on Wednesday 31 January.

Will Eurostar be affected?

No, trains will proceed to run as regular between London St Pancras International and Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam. But connecting journeys will likely be tough on strike days – notably Tuesday 30 January, when Thameslink and Southeastern are out, and on Saturday 3 February when no East Midlands Railway companies are prone to run.

What does Aslef say?

In the newest Aslef Journal, normal secretary Mick Whelan instructed members: “Train drivers are fed up and annoyed that their employers failed to barter in good religion, making a proposal by the Rail Delivery Group which they knew could be turned down.

“Aslef members – key staff who saved our nation transferring by the pandemic – are merely asking for a good and respectable deal.

“We haven’t had a gathering with Mark Harper, the transport secretary, since December 2022. We haven’t had a gathering with Huw Merriman, the rail minister, since January. And we haven’t heard from the employers since April.

“We have at all times mentioned that we are ready to return to the desk however the authorities and TOCs need to grasp that this dispute gained’t be resolved by attempting to bully our members into accepting worse phrases and situations of employment.”

On the particular five-day LNER strike, Mr Whelan mentioned: “We have given LNER management – and their government counterparts who hold the purse strings – every opportunity to come to the table and they have so far made no realistic offer to our members.” He referred to as upon the rail corporations “to come to the table and work with us to resolve this dispute so we can all move forward and get our railway back on track”.

What do the rail corporations say?

A spokesperson for Rail Delivery Group mentioned: “Nobody wins when strikes affect lives and livelihoods, and they’re notably tough to justify at a time when taxpayers are persevering with to contribute an additional £54m per week to maintain companies working post-Covid.

“Despite the railway’s big monetary problem, drivers have been made a proposal which might take base salaries to almost £65,000 for a four-day week with out additional time – that is nicely above the nationwide common and considerably greater than lots of our passengers that haven’t any choice to earn a living from home are paid.

“Instead of staging extra damaging industrial motion, we name on the Aslef management to work with us to resolve this dispute and ship a good deal which each rewards our individuals, and makes the adjustments wanted to make companies extra dependable.”

What does the authorities say?

A Department for Transport spokesperson mentioned: “It’s very disappointing to see Aslef persevering with to focus on those that journey to work, college or necessary medical appointments by train.

“Aslf is now the solely rail union that is persevering with to strike whereas refusing to place a good and cheap provide to its members. The provide that continues to be on the desk and would convey the common train driver’s wage as much as £65,000.

“The Aslef management ought to do the proper factor and let their members determine their very own future, as a substitute of deciding it for them.”

What does the Labour Party say it will do if elected?

The shadow rail minister, Stephen Morgan MP, mentioned: “Labour will bring our railways back into public ownership, as contracts expire, and ensure services work in the interests of the passenger.”

LNER, which is dealing with addition industrial motion, is already in public possession.

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