Rail passengers are being urged to check before travelling next month because of fresh strikes and an overtime ban by train drivers that will disrupt services.

Some train operators will not run any services and there will be short notice cancellations because of the industrial action as part of a long-running pay dispute.

Members of the drivers’ union Aslef will stage a series of one-day strikes across different train operators between December 2 and 8, as well as an overtime ban across all train companies from December 1-9.

Revised timetables are being prepared and should be available by November 30.

Passengers who have to travel have been warned to expect disruption, plan ahead and check when their first and last train will depart.

The strikes will affect services on 17 train companies, with wide regional variations expected.

Some operators will run no services at all on strike days and those that are running will start later and finish much earlier than usual – typically between 7.30am and 6.30pm.

It is likely that services on some lines will be affected on the evening before and morning after each strike between December 2 and 8 because rolling stock will not be in the right depots.

A spokesperson for Rail Delivery Group said: “This unnecessary and avoidable industrial action called by the Aslef leadership has been targeted to disrupt customers and businesses ahead of the vital festive period, where people will be attending events and catching up with friends and loved ones.

“It will also inflict further damage on an industry that is receiving up to an additional £175 million a month in taxpayer cash to keep services running, following the Covid downturn.

“As the level of service varies across the country, our advice is to check before you travel and follow the latest travel information. Customers with Advance, Anytime or Off-Peak tickets for travel between Saturday 2 December – Friday 8 December can instead use their tickets any time between Friday 1 December up until Tuesday 12 December. Those with Advance tickets can be refunded fee-free if the train that the ticket is booked for is cancelled, delayed, or rescheduled.

“It doesn’t have to be this way. The Aslef leadership are blocking a fair and affordable offer made by the industry in the Spring that would take average driver base salaries for a four-day week from £60,000 to nearly £65,000.

“We urge them to put it to its members, give Christmas back to our customers and end this damaging industrial dispute.”

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “It is disappointing that Aslef are targeting the public and hospitality businesses at the beginning of the festive period, when there is a fair and reasonable pay offer for train drivers on the table that would take their salary up to an average of £65,000 for a 35-hour, four-day week.

“Taxpayers contributed £1000 per household to protect train drivers’ jobs during the pandemic. Instead of going on strike, Aslef should be following in the footsteps of the other rail unions and giving their members a vote on this fair pay deal.”

The strikes will affect the following operators:
December 2 – East Midlands and LNER.
December 3 – Avanti West Coast, Chiltern, West Midlands Trains, Great Northern/Thameslink.
December 5 – C2C, Greater Anglia.
December 6 – Southeastern, Southern, Gatwick Express, South Western Railway, Island Line.
December 7 – CrossCountry, Great Western Railway.
December 8 – Northern, TransPennine.

Aslef members in all the companies will ban overtime from December 1-9.