Rail passengers are being warned that fresh strikes by train drivers in a long-running dispute over pay will mean some areas will have no services. Members of train drivers union Aslef will walk out on Saturday September 30 and Wednesday October 4, coinciding with the annual conference of the Conservative Party.
The drivers will take action short of a strike in the first week of October which will also disrupt services. The strikes will affect 15 train companies with services due to start later and finish much earlier than usual – typically between 7.30am and 6.30pm.
One of the train companies, TransPennine Express (TPE), has now urged customers to plan ahead as the further industrial action is set to cause major disruption to rail services, including potential cancellations on each strike day.
Kathryn O’Brien, Customer Service and Operations Director at TPE, said: “Unfortunately, the further strike action will once again, cause severe disruption to our services, as well as those across the country. Sadly, we won’t be able to run any trains at all on the strike dates, with a very limited timetable in place on the days following each strike.”
Kathryn added: “We expect the action short of a strike to cause widespread disruption, delays and short-notice cancellations. I would advise customers to check very carefully before they travel and to allow extra time for any journeys.
“We’re extremely sorry for the impact this action will have for our customers and will do all we can to keep as many people on the move as possible.” The company also advised customers to check before they set off by visiting its website.
The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) said operators will run as many trains as possible but there will be wide regional variations, with some running no services at all.
It is likely that evening services on some lines will be affected on the days before each strike and morning services may also be disrupted on October 1 and 5 because rolling stock will not be in the right depots.
The RDG said: “The rail industry is working hard to keep trains running despite the union leaders’ decision to reject an offer which would give their members an 8% pay rise over two years, taking average salaries for train drivers up from nearly £60,000 a year to almost £65,000 a year for, on average, a four-day week.”
Special timetables for September 30 will be published on September 22 on National Rail Enquiries; and for October 4 on Wednesday September 27.
How to get refund if your train is cancelled due to strike
If you have an advance ticket booked for a strike day and your service is cancelled, delayed or rescheduled, you are entitled to a change or refund. You’ll need to contact the original retailer of your ticket to get your money back.
If you have an advance ticket for a strike day, you may be able to travel on the days around the strikes, but will again need to check with your train company.