Train strikes 2023: Dates of walkout and the services affected


Britain will face further travel disruption this month after 20,000 rail workers prepare for three days of strikes in their long-running dispute over pay.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) will once again walk out at 14 train operators across England, after the companies failed to make revised pay offer.

The latest strike action will impact fans hoping to attend two of the Ashes Tests and The Open Championship golf tournament.

It comes as train drivers at 16 rail operators have refused to work overtime for six days in July, threatening travel disruption for tennis fans heading to Wimbledon.

When are the next train strikes?

The RMT said that 20,000 rail workers – including station staff, train managers and catering workers – across the UK are to strike on the following days:

  • Thursday July 20
  • Saturday July 22 
  • Saturday July 29

The three days of strikes will impact cricket fans travelling to the fourth and fifth Ashes Tests.

The fourth Ashes Test is due to take place at Old Trafford in Manchester between Wednesday July 19 to Sunday July 23. The fifth Test in London runs from Thursday July 27 until Monday July 31.

The strikes also clash with The Open Championship, which runs from Thursday July 20 until Sunday July 23 at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club.

Meanwhile, the overtime ban on Aslef train drivers – which could lead to last-minute cancellations – will take place over six days, from Monday July 3 to Saturday July 8.

The industrial action coincides with the first week of this year’s Wimbledon tournament, which began on Monday July 3.

It comes after RMT and Aslef strikes wreaked havoc for rail passengers in May, including thousands of people attending the FA Cup final at Wembley, the Epsom Derby, Beyoncé’s “Renaissance” world tour concert at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and the Eurovision final in Liverpool.

Which rail companies are affected?

Members of the RMT will strike at 14 rail companies, including:

  • Avanti West Coast
  • C2C
  • Chiltern Railways
  • CrossCountry
  • East Midlands Railway
  • GTR (includes Southern, Thameslink, Great Northern and Gatwick Express)
  • Great Western Railway
  • Greater Anglia (includes Stansted Express)
  • LNER
  • Northern Trains
  • Southeastern
  • South Western Railway
  • TransPennine Express
  • West Midlands Trains
  • GTR operates Southern, Thameslink, Great Northern and Gatwick Express.

The level of disruption from the Aslef overtime ban will vary for different operators. The train companies affected are:

  • Avanti West Coast
  • Chiltern Railways
  • Cross Country
  • East Midlands Railway
  • Greater Anglia
  • GWR
  • GTR Great Northern Thameslink
  • Island Line
  • LNER
  • Northern Trains
  • Southeastern
  • Southern
  • Gatwick Express
  • South Western Railway main line
  • SWR depot drivers
  • TransPennine Express
  • West Midlands Trains.

Advice for travelling during train strikes

National Rail warns passengers to expect “significant disruption” during strike days. Services are also likely to be disrupted and start later on the day immediately after.

National Rail has recommended that passengers:

  • Use its Journey Planner. Passengers should check close to the time of each strike date.
  • Use its Live Trains page for the most up-to-date information about arrivals and departures
  • Plan ahead and check before you travel. This includes checking your entire journey, especially if you’re travelling on the first and last trains of strike days.

Train station ticket office closures

Nearly all railway station ticket offices are being shut and staff moved onto station platform and concourse duties, according to the Rail Delivery Group (RDG). Ticket office facilities will remain open only at the busiest stations.

Posters are being displayed in stations informing passengers about potential closures. The Government will make the final decision on which offices will be axed following a consultation. It is not known how quickly the first offices will shut, but the closure programme is expected to last for three years.

Why are 20,000 rail workers striking again?

The RMT has accused train operators of failing to make a new pay offer to end the long-running industrial action.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “My team of negotiators and I are available 24/7 for talks with the train operating companies and government ministers.

“Yet quite incredibly neither party has made any attempt whatsoever to arrange any meetings or put forward a decent offer that can help us reach a negotiated solution.”

According to the RMT, the Government “contractually sets the negotiating parameters” of the 14 train operators, and is blocking them from making new concessions. 

The Rail Delivery Group, which represents the train operators affected, described the latest strikes “totally unnecessary”.

Responding to RMT’s announcement, a Rail Delivery Group spokesman said: “We have now made three offers that the RMT executive have blocked without a convincing explanation.

“We remain open to talks and we have said repeatedly that we want to give our people a pay rise, but until the union leadership and executive is united in what it wants and engages in good faith with the 30pc shortfall in revenue the industry is continuing to grapple with post covid, it is difficult to move forward.

“Sadly our staff, our customers and the communities across the country which rely on a thriving railway are the ones that are suffering as a result.”

RMT’s members in May renewed the union’s industrial mandate to continue strike action for another six months.

Why are Aslef drivers refusing to work overtime?

The train drivers’ union has been embroiled in a year-long pay dispute, having already staged several strikes since last summer.

The RDG had offered a 4pc increase in 2022 followed by another 4pc rise in 2023.

Aslef’s Mr Whelan said the proposal “was clearly not designed to be accepted” as inflation is much higher, meaning the offer represents a pay cut in real terms.

The train drivers had not had a pay rise since 2019, he added.

To qualify for the first 4pc boost the companies would need to commit to drivers adopting new routes faster to help plug gaps in the service and using technology to train new staff more quickly.

The second year of pay rises would hinge on “the successful conclusion” of talks on reforms which would make drivers scheduled to work on Sundays contractually committed to do so if there was no alternative cover.

The RDG said this change was vital as leisure travel had rebounded much more strongly than commuter and business journeys and now stands at 116pc of pre-Covid levels.

The group also required that the control of staff work and training schedules was put “back in the hands of the employers”.

Yet the train drivers’ union said the 8pc offer over two years that would lift the average driver’s salary from around £60,000 to just below £65,000 was insufficient.

Inflation has largely been in double digits since July last year and remained at 10.4pc in March, the latest data from the Office for National Statistics shows.

It means the pay offer would still be a considerable pay cut in real terms.

An RDG spokesperson said: “More strike action is totally unnecessary and will only heap more pressure on an industry already facing an acute financial crisis.”