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Passengers warned to plan journeys in advance and only travel by train if absolutely necessary on 18 and 20 August due to continued national industrial action

  • Coordinated industry contingency plan will see around 20% of services running and some parts of the country with no rail services
  • Special timetables for 18 and 20 August to be published on 14 and 16 August but it is likely that trains will start later and finish much earlier than usual, between 7.30am and 6.30pm
  • Passengers are asked to plan ahead, check before they travel, to expect disruption and to only travel by rail if absolutely necessary

The rail industry is working hard to keep a limited number of trains running despite upcoming strike days, but passengers are being warned that some parts of the country will have little or no rail services.

Thousands of specially-trained and fully qualified back-up staff will again step in during the walkouts to keep vital services running for those who need them.

Repeated coordinated strike action by the RMT and TSSA unions will create severe disruption for passengers with only about a fifth of services running on around just half of the network on Thursday 18 and Saturday 20 August. Passengers are asked to only travel by train if it is absolutely necessary, allow extra time and check when their last train will depart.

The timetable for Thursday 18 August is due to be published on Sunday 14 August, while the timetable for Saturday 20 August will be available on Tuesday 16 August. Passengers are also advised that there is likely to be some disruption in the early morning of the day after each strike – Friday 19 August and Sunday 21 August – as workers return to duties. There will also be disruption on Friday 19 August due to a strike on the London Underground.

The 24-hour walkout will affect: Avanti West Coast, c2c, Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry, East Midlands Railway, Greater Anglia, Great Western Railway, GTR (including Gatwick Express), Hull Trains, LNER, London Northwestern, London Overground, Northern, Southeastern, South Western Railway, TransPennine Express, West Midlands Trains, Heathrow Express and Stansted Express.

Steve Montgomery, Chair of the Rail Delivery Group, said: The leadership of RMT and TSSA are imposing yet more uncertainty for passengers and businesses by disrupting passengers’ travel plans.

“While we will do all that we can to minimise the impact and to get people where they need to be, passengers should only travel by rail if absolutely necessary and be aware that services may start later the morning after strikes. If you’re not able to travel on 18 or 20 August, you can use your ticket either the day before or up to and including 23 August, otherwise you will be able to change your ticket or claim a refund. 

“The railway is too important to this country to allow it to decline, but with passenger revenue still 20% below 2019 levels, securing a bright future means we have change and move with the times. Only then can fund the pay rise we want to give our people, while delivering the more reliable Sunday services and improved punctuality our passengers deserve.”

Andrew Haines, Network Rail chief executive, said: “It saddens me that we are again having to ask passengers to stay away from the railway for two days next week due to unnecessary strike action, when we should be helping them enjoy their summers. We have made a good and fair offer but, with the exception of our TSSA management grades who accepted the deal, our unions are refusing to let our employees have a say, and sadly that means more disruption on the rail network.

“We’ll run as many services as we can next Thursday and Saturday, but it will only be around a fifth of the usual timetable, so please only travel if absolutely necessary and if you must travel, plan ahead and check when your last train will be.”

Meanwhile, there is separate strike action called by the Aslef leadership this Saturday, 13 August. Passengers planning to travel on this day – or early on Sunday 14 August – are advised to follow the latest travel advice, check before they travel and allow extra time for their journey.

If you absolutely have to travel, a number of operators will be offering no service or a very limited service, so expect trains to be very busy and plan for the possibility of last-minute journey changes or cancellations. Routes between London and the Midlands, the North and Scotland will be particularly heavily impacted.

Passengers with advance, off-peak or anytime tickets affected by the strike on 18 and 20 August can use their ticket either on the day before the date on the ticket, or up to and including Tuesday 23 August. Passengers can also change their tickets to travel on an alternate date or get a refund if their train is cancelled or rescheduled.  

Passengers with a season ticket that is monthly or longer or who have an activated days’ worth of travel on a flexi season ticket who choose not to travel on 18 or 20 August, can claim compensation for these days through the delay repay scheme.  If you need to travel on the 18th or 20th and already have a ticket, please check with the train company you booked to travel with in advance of your journey for advice on what to do with your ticket. 

If your local operator is impacted by industrial action, you should check journey planners on National Rail Enquiries or operator websites to find alternative route options. 

Contact Information

Martin Spencer

Media Relations Manager

Rail Delivery Group


Notes to editors

  • We all want to deliver a better, safer and more affordable railway for customers and taxpayers by updating outdated and inflexible working practices, which have seen costs spiral. We want: 
  • More reliable services on a Sunday by making Sunday part of the working week for all, rather than a voluntary day paid for in overtime
    Increased punctuality by making staff rostering more flexible so the railway is more resilient, and bringing in new technology for quicker, more efficient and safer railway maintenance
    Customer-friendly stations by bringing stations up to date with the best of modern retailing, with more multiskilled staff on hand to offer help with tickets, journey planning and preventing anti-social behaviour
    • Our analysis suggests the RMT figure of train operator profits isn’t accurate and is based on projections, rather than reality. The figures published by the Office of Rail and Road tell a different story. Last year, 20 train operators made a total of £75m in profits, with a profit margin of only 0.6%. The franchise model no longer exists, and train operators are paid on a performance related fixed fee basis in the same way as other government suppliers.
  • Staff costs for train operators went from £3.1bn in 2017-18 to £3.6bn in 2019-20, an increase of 16%. This is partly due to an increase in staff, but also reflects pay increases in that period, despite the RMT claims that staff haven’t had any pay rises.