Train strikes: when are they and which companies are affected?

Rail unions have called strikes for three days in October  (Henry Nicholls/Reuters)
Rail unions have called strikes for three days in October (Henry Nicholls/Reuters)

Drivers at 12 train operators walked out on October 5, affecting travel to and from the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, according to rail union Aslef.

Furthermore, the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) have announced that more than 40,000 workers from Network Rail and 15 train operators will strike on October 8. The union said it would be “effectively shutting down the railway network”.

They have already walked out on Saturday (October 1).

Avanti West Coast, Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry, Great Western Railway, Greater Anglia, Hull Trains, LNER, London Overground, Northern, Southeastern, TransPennine Express, and West Midlands Trains (badged as London Northwestern Railway) will be affected.

Strike action that had been planned for September 9, 15, and 17 was called off after the death of the Queen. The drivers’ union Aslef made only a brief statutory statement about the strikes out of respect for the period of national mourning for the death of the Queen. By law, it must give employers two weeks’ notice of strikes.

Railway workers went on strike for a number of days in August in a dispute over pay and working conditions. In addition, members of the RMT, Aslef, and TSSA unions walked out in June and July.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said earlier that “this dispute will not simply vanish” and urged the rail industry and the Government to “get serious about providing an offer on pay which helps deal with the cost-of-living crisis, job security for our members, and provides good conditions at work”.

Mick Whelan, general secretary of Aslef, said union members had “been forced into this position by the train companies, driven by the Tory Government” and that “strike action is, now, the only option available”.

On strike days, only around a fifth of normal services ran, and half of the lines were closed.

In Scotland, workers on ScotRail will strike on October 10 in a dispute over pay, the RMT union announced.

The union said its members had been offered a five per cent pay rise, describing it as a real-terms wage cut because of the soaring rate of inflation.

Why are there train strikes?

The RMT called strike action in a dispute over “job security, pay and working conditions”.

Lynch said: “Proposals from Network Rail fell well short on pay and on safety around maintenance work. And the train-operating companies have not even made us a pay offer in recent negotiations.”

Aslef’s Mick Whelan said: “The drivers at the companies where we are striking have had a real-terms pay cut over the last three years since April 2019.

“And these companies are offering us nothing, saying their hands have been tied by the Government.

“That means, in real terms, with inflation running ahead at nine per cent, 10 per cent, and even 11 per cent this year, according to which index you use, that they are being told to take a real-terms pay cut. And that is not acceptable.”

He added: “Strikes are always the last resort. We don’t want to inconvenience passengers – our friends and families use public transport, too – and we don’t want to lose money by going on strike but we’ve been forced into this position by the companies, who say they have been driven to this by the Government.”

National Rail services affected by the train strikes

East Midlands Railway - no services will run on any part of the network.

Great Western Railway - “extremely limited service” from 7.30am to 6.30pm. Rail services will only operate between Bristol Temple Meads and London Paddington; Reading and Oxford; and Reading and Basingstoke.

Avanti West Coast - no service.

LNER - customers are being urged to check the firm’s website for updates.

CrossCountry - no services.

TransPennine Express - “very limited service on some lines” with customers advised to travel only “if journeys are essential”. The company will continue to provide further updates “as soon as possible”.

Greater Anglia - people told to “avoid travelling with us. Our services will be severely reduced and disrupted. It’s likely that most routes won’t have trains or bus replacements for them”.

c2c - operator says this day’s action will “not affect” services, but it adds “trains may be busier than usual”.

Chiltern Railways - no service on any route.

Southern, Great Northern, Thameslink, Gatwick Express - services expected to be “extremely busy” due to the strike action.

West Midlands Railway - no services on any route.

Southeastern - no services running.

Northern - no services running.

South Western Railway - SWR drivers “will not be involved” in this day’s strike action.

London Overground and Tube services

TFL has issued some guidance below:

Saturday, October 8



  • Limited services between Queens Park and Harrow & Wealdstone between 8am and 6pm

  • The rest of the line will run as normal


  • Limited services running 7.15am-6.30pm between Richmond and Turnham Green

  • No service between Wimbledon and Earls Court (due to planned works)

  • The rest of the line will run as normal

Elizabeth line

West (Paddington-Reading/Heathrow)

Central (Paddington-Abbey Wood)

East (Liverpool Street-Shenfield)

  • Reduced service between Paddington and Reading/Heathrow

  • Trains will only operate between 7.40am and 5.14pm

  • Two trains per hour each to Reading and Heathrow T4

  • Until 5.45pm: normal service

  • After 5.45pm: reduced service

  • Reduced service - two trains per hour

  • Services only running 7.30am-5.30pm

London Overground

  • Night Overground for Friday, October 7 ends around 4am on Saturday, October 8

  • No service expected between 4am and 8am, and after 6pm

  • Reduced service running between 8am and 6pm

Sunday, October 9