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January and February train strike dates: Everything you need to know about rail disruption

Simon Calder’s Travel

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

With no settlement in sight to the long and bitter row over pay and working arrangements, the union has announced its first strikes for 2024.

Train drivers belonging to Aslef will stop work region-by-region over the course of a week between Tuesday 30 January and Monday 5 February. Thousands of trains are likely to be cancelled on each day.

The effect will be exacerbated by a nine-day ban on overtime running from 29 January to 6 February.

These are the key questions and answers.

Which rail firms are affected?

Aslef is in dispute with the train operators that are contracted by the government to provide rail services. They are:

Intercity operators:

  • Avanti West Coast
  • CrossCountry
  • 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 (including the Island Line on the Isle of Wight)

Operators focusing on the Midlands and north of England:

  • Chiltern Railways
  • Northern Trains
  • West Midlands Railway

ScotRail, Transport for Wales, Transport for London (including the Elizabeth Line), Merseyrail and “open-access” operators such as Grand Central, Hull Trains and Lumo are not involved. But their services are likely to be extremely crowded on stretches where they duplicate strike-hit companies.

What is the strike schedule?

Monday 29 January: overtime 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 but overtime ban continues.

Friday 2 February: Greater Anglia, C2C and LNER.

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

Sunday 4 February: no strike but overtime ban continues.

Monday 5 February: Great Western, CrossCountry and Chiltern.

Tuesday 6 February: no strike but overtime ban continues for a final day.

What are the likely effects of the strikes?

Based on the experience of the last rolling strikes, these are the predicted effects – assuming no “minimum service level” action is taken by the transport secretary, Mark Harper. New legislation allows him to stipulate minimum service levels on…

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