With little movement from either side, it seems we’re fast heading into Day 2 of the National Rail Strike.
What might be open if we’re lucky – Image, Network Rail – https://www.networkrail.co.uk/industrial-action/.
On the day of writing, services have been impacted still, with 60% of timetabled trains operating. We’re focusing on the Thursday and Saturday strikes that are upcoming.
Which train companies are impacted?
The full list (with each site’s strike notes). Some companies are not suffering strikes, however, are impacted by the Network Rail strike (such as Transport for Wales and Govia Thameslink Railway companies), whereas some companies have ceased services during strike times (such as Merseyrail).
Note, London Underground is unaffected by this strike.
For completeness, here are the confirmed plans of each train operating company:
- Avanti West Coast
- Caledonian Sleeper
- Chiltern Railways
- East Midlands Railway
- Elizabeth line
- Gatwick Express
- Grand Central
- Great Northern
- Great Western Railway
- Greater Anglia / Stansted Express
- Heathrow Express
- Hull Trains
- London Northwestern Railway
- London Overground
- South Western Railway / Island Line
- TransPennine Express
- Transport for Wales
- West Midlands Railway
What routes are open?
Many rural and low-trafficked routes closed, with some mainline services planned to be open, but with heavily restricted frequencies and operating hours (for example, some intercity services are only operating hourly, some commuter services half-hourly).
A high-resolution PDF map can be found here
When will trains operate?
Limited operations on these days will be from 07:30 to 18:30 during strike days. Expect the barest of bare-bones services, with capacity, with hourly or half-hourly services running, with late starting times and very early finishes.
Even during those operational hours, expect the services to start very late and finish early so journeys can be completed by 18:30.
Are services to airports impacted?
Yes. If you arrive outside the designated service hours, you will need to find an alternative way from your airport to your final destination. The reverse applies if travelling to the airport.
Serving the London Region:
- Heathrow Express is expecting services to end early on days before strike days and offer a half-hourly service between 07:30 and 18:30.
- Elizabeth Line is expected to be heavily impacted.
- Gatwick Express will not operate services. Use Southern or Thameslink services instead, with two trains an hour operating on the London Victora/London Bridge to Brighton Line.
- Stansted Express will operate two trains an hour between London Liverpool Street and Stansted.
The DLR to London City Airport is unaffected, however, it is expected to be a lot busier than normal.
Can I get a refund?
According to National Rail:
- Refunds: If your service has been cancelled, delayed or rescheduled, you will be entitled to a change or refund from the original retailer of your ticket.
- Changing travel plans: If you have a ticket for travel on 21, 23 or 25 June you can use this ticket either on the day before the date on the ticket or through and including the Monday and Tuesday of the following week (excluding Season Tickets). Please note if your ticket is for a journey that includes crossing London it will not be valid on London Underground services on an alternative date. Please contact the original retailer of your ticket for more information.
- Changing train company or route: To help minimise any disruption, you may be able to use your ticket on another train company or an alternative route. Please contact the train company you are due to travel with for more information
What alternatives are there – if any?
At this point of the game, it might be possible to catch a Megabus, Flixbus or National Express service, but expect them to be packed.
Local transport options such as buses and trams will feel the impact of the strikes, with them expected to be a lot busier than normal.
For those who wish to utilise taxis, rideshares or even hire a car, expect the surge rates to be your best enemy.
As for hotels and such, expect pressure on them this week too.
Plan well ahead or consider abandoning your trip
I rarely suggest abandoning a trip, but this week’s rail strike is going to have one hell of an impact on how you get from A to B this week.
If you don’t need to travel, or you can fire up that copy of Microsoft Teams/Zoom you downloaded at the start of the pandemic and work remotely, I would be doing this.
If you do need to travel, firstly keep an eye on https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/service_disruptions/industrialaction.aspx and plan your journey to the minute.
Not doing so could mean unexpected stops where you least want them to be.
Welcome to Economy Class and Beyond – Your no-nonsense guide to network news, honest reviews, featuring in-depth coverage, unique research, as well as the humour and madness I only know how to deliver.
Also remember that we are part of the BoardingArea community, bringing you the latest frequent flyer news from around the world.