Rail travellers are facing another four days of disruption around the Britain as the latest in a series of train strikes gets underway.
Passengers across England, Scotland and Wales are being warned to avoid the railways as more than 40,000 members of the RMT union, along with workers from the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) and Unite union walk out over pay and conditions.
The strikes on 18 and 20 August will affect services and routes run by 14 train operating companies and are expected to see just a fifth of all services running. They are also expected to have serious knock-on effects on services on Friday 19 and Sunday 21 August, causing chaos across the weekend.
This week’s action follows a 24-hour strike by train drivers at nine train operators on 13 August and three days of action in June and two in July, staged by RMT members.
How are routes affected by the strikes?
According to Network Rail, half of all lines will be shut and priority will be given to trains on major intercity lines, including those between London and Brimingham; Edinburgh; Glasgow; Leeds; Liverpool; Manchester and Newcastle. Services will also start later and finish earlier, with the first trains running from around 7.30am and services stopping at 6.30pm.
Some parts of the country, including most of Scotland and Wales, will have no train service at all and passengers should expect disruption on the mornings of the days following the strikes.
In London, staff at Transport for London (TfL) are staging a separate one-day strike on Friday 19, as well as taking part in the action on 18 and 20 August, affecting Overground and Underground services.
What services are running?
The strike affects 14 major train operating companies, some managing multiple services, and Transport for London. They have issued the following information on their affected services:
Avanti West Coast
One train per hour from Euston to each of Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and Preston, with a limited service onwards to Glasgow. First train to depart Euston at 8am, last train to depart at “mid-afternoon”.
No service to North Wales, Shrewsbury, Blackpool and Edinburgh, and trains will not be calling at Stockport, Macclesfield, Stoke-on-Trent or Runcorn.
Two trains per hour from Fenchurch Street to Shoeburyness via Laindon, and two per hour from Fenchurch Street to Pitsea via Rainham. No trains will run via Ockendon or Chafford Hundred.
Services will run from 7.30am to 6.30pm. Services on Friday 19 and Sunday 21 August will not start until after 6.30am with a full service planned to be in operation by 8am.
All services on Wednesday 17, Thursday 18 and Friday 19 August cancelled.
One train per hour each way between Marylebone and Oxford Parkway; Banbury; Aylesbury (via High Wycombe). One train per hour each way between Aylesbury Vale Parkway and Amersham. There will be no Chiltern Railways service North of Banbury, nor to/from Oxford.
On Thursday 18 August there will be one train per hour on routes from Birmingham New St to Bristol Temple Meads; Reading; Leeds and York; Leicester; Manchester Piccadilly routes. Two trains at 11:03am and 1:03pm from Birmingham New Street to Edinburgh via Newcastle. No other services.
On Saturday 20 August there will be one train per hour on the Birmingham New Street to Reading and New Street to Manchester Piccadilly routes. One train will run from Derby to Newcastle/Edinburgh Waverley, and four trains will run from Derby to York via Leeds. No other services.
East Midlands Railway
Services will operate between 7.30am and 6.30pm. One train per hour on the routes between Nottingham and London; Sheffield and London; Derby and Matlock; Derby and Nottingham; Leicester and Nottingham. All other routes are closed, with no replacement bus service.
Three trains in each direction on the London King’s Cross-Nothallerton and London King’s Cross-Wakefield routes.
Two trains per hour on the following routes: St Pancras International-Bedford; St Pancras International-Luton; London King’s Cross-Peterborough; King’s Cross-Welwyn Garden City; King’s Cross-Stevenage.
One train per hour will run between King’s Cross and Ely, In addition, one train per hour will run between Cambridge and Ely.
Great Western Railway
Sleeper service is cancelled. No service in Cornwall and Devon and no service on Berks & Hants, Wessex lines, TransWilts, Severn Beach, Cotswolds, Greenford, North Downs or Worcester/Gloucester routes.
Two trains per hour between Southend to London Liverpool Street. One train per hour on both Cambridge and Norwich/Colchester to London Liverpool Street routes. No regional or branch line trains.
Trains will only run between Doncaster and London King’s Cross from 7.30am and 6.30pm. Four trains in each direction.
London North Eastern Railway
One to two trains per hour on routes between Edinburgh, Newcastle, York and London King’s Cross. One train per hour between London and Leeds.
London Northwestern Railway
Two trains per hour in each direction between London Euston, Northampton and Birmingham, and one per hour in each direction between Birmingham New Street and Northampton. One train per hour in each direction between Crewe, Wolverhampton and Birmingham New Street.
One train per hour on New Brighton; West Kirby; Southport, Ormskirk and Kirby lines, with limited stops, and hourly between Rock Ferry and Liverpool Central. Services will run from 7.30am to 6.30pm.
One train per hour in each direction on Liverpool to Manchester and Manchester to Alderley Edge and on routes from Leeds to York; Ilkley; Skipton; Sheffield and Bradford Forester Square.
Two trains per hour in each direction on Edinburgh-Glasgow via Falkirk High; Edinburgh-Helensburgh; Glasgow-Hamilton/Larkhall; Glasgow-Lanark; Edinburgh-Inverkeithing; Edinburgh-Tweedbank; Milngavie-Springburn. One train per hour on Edinburgh–North Berwick; Glasgow Queen St–Larbert; Glasgow Queen St–Falkirk Grahamston and Edinburgh–Glasgow via Shotts
South Western Railway
Four trains per hour between London Waterloo and Woking, and between London Waterloo and Windsor & Eton Riverside. Two per hour between London Waterloo and Basingstoke, and London Waterloo and Southampton.
Most routes will be closed and a “severely reduced” service will run on Dartford line, high speed St Pancras to Ashford line, and Orpington line.
Two trains running per hour from London Bridge and London Victoria to south-east London and the coast. Services will run on the Brighton Mainline to London Bridge and London Victoria, with additional trains twice hourly between London and Tattenham Corner, Epsom Downs, Sutton and West Croydon via Crystal Palace.
Two trains per hour will run both north and south lines. No trains between London St Pancras and London Bridge.
One train per hour on Manchester to York routes, one train every two hours Preston-Manchester Airport and Sheffield-Cleethorpes. Two trains per day between Edinburgh and Newcastle.
Transport for London
On Thursday most TfL services will run as normal but there will be some disruption. London Overground will operate a reduced service, limited to 8am-6pm. Affected underground routes include:
Elizabeth line - Central (Paddington-Abbey Wood) - reduced service after 18:00. East (Liverpool Street-Shenfield) - trains running every 30 minutes 07:00-17:30 only. Trains won't stop at Maryland, Forest Gate, Manor Park, Goodmayes. West (Paddington-Reading/Heathrow) - trains every 30 minutes 07:10-17:40 only. Heathrow trains only running to Terminal 4. District line - No service between Wimbledon and Parson's Green, and Richmond and Turnham Green before 08:00 and after 18:00. Bakerloo line - No service north of Queen's Park
On Friday RMT staff at TfL are staging a separate strike which will affect most TfL services across the Tube, London Overground and bus services. Overground services will start late and there will be no night serivce. There will be “little to no” Tube service during the day and no Night Tube. Underground services that are running include: Elizabeth line, Central (Paddington-Abbey Wood) - normal service starting 07:00. After 22:30, trains may not stop at all stations. East (Liverpool Street-Shenfield) - normal service starting 07:00. West (Paddington-Reading/Heathrow) - normal service starting 07:00. DLR: services into Bank running 07:00-18:30
Transport for Wales
No rail service on either Thursday 18 or Saturday 20 August.
West Midlands Railway
Most services cancelled. Maximum of two trains per hour on the Lichfield Trent Valley to Bromsgrove line, one per hour on lines from Birmingham New Street to Wolverhampton, Birmingham International and London Euston. Two per hour on London Euston to Northampton and Bletchley service. One per hour between Crew and Birmingham New Street.