Rail strikes: Answers to your questions

Man walking past closed platform Image copyright Getty Images

Rail workers at four train companies across England were on strike on Tuesday and plan to walk out on Thursday. As commuters face widespread disruption here is what you need to know.

What are the strikes all about?

RMT union members at Southern, Merseyrail, Arriva Rail North and Greater Anglia are striking in a dispute over plans to make train doors driver-only-operated.

Rail companies have said this would mean a guard is no longer needed to ensure the doors are closed.

Image copyright AFP/Getty

Will South Western Railway services be affected?

Workers on the new South Western Railway franchise on Tuesday voted to join the industrial dispute over the role of train guards.

The "massive mandate" for strikes and other industrial action would be considered by RMT's executive before any decision was made, the union said.

South Western said it planned to increase numbers of drivers and guards and urged the union to "avoid premature strike action".

RMT must give 14 days notice of a walkout.

What has the impact been so far?

Greater Anglia said it was running a full service but train crew issues on Tuesday meant several trains, starting with the 06:15 Colchester-Ipswich, did not run.

Essex commuter Jez Halford said it was "business as usual" at Shenfield station in Brentwood, Essex on Tuesday morning.

Image copyright Jez Halford
Image caption Commuter Jez Halford said he got from Shenfield station in Essex to central London on time despite the Great Anglia strike

Matthew Parry from Manchester tweeted Northern to say it was "totally unacceptable sending bare minimum carriages on a strike day".

The strikes were having a knock-on effect on other services, with TransPennine Express reporting passenger complaints about "dangerously full" trains.

Southern said it would attempt to run a normal service on most of its routes.

Arriva Rail North planned to run about 1,200 services across the north, 46% of its normal timetable, on both days between 07:00 BST and 19:00 BST.

Most Merseyrail services will run between 07:00 and 19:00, with a break during the middle of the day, and some stations will be closed.

Image copyright Luke Aspinall
Image caption Luke Aspinall tweeted this picture of a crowded train to Blackpool North

Is the London Underground involved in this strike action?

Tube drivers were set to join the rail strike for 24 hours on Thursday but this has been suspended following talks.

Although the action had been planned for the same day, Aslef union members were striking in a separate dispute over working conditions.

Union representative Finn Brennan said London Underground staff could still go on strike at a later date.

"Our ballot remains live and we will not hesitate to call action in the future if needed to ensure all the commitments made are fully delivered," he said.

How does this affect the England v Slovenia match at Wembley on Thursday?

When tube staff looked likely to walk out TfL, the FA and National Express set up a range of transport options to help fans get to and from the game.

These included more buses and extra parking spaces bookable in advance. TfL says these measures will remain in place despite the tube strike not going ahead.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Extra transport to and from Wembley Stadium will still be available on Thursday, TfL said.

Chiltern Railways said it had cancelled services to and from Wembley Stadium after 16:00 as it could not safely accommodate the increase in passengers due to the expected strike action.

"Unfortunately this decision cannot be altered in the short timescales available," a statement from Chiltern said.

The last Chiltern trains to call at Wembley will be:

  • Northbound: 15:50 Marylebone to Gerrards Cross (Wembley Stadium at 15:59)
  • Southbound: 15:20 from High Wycombe to Marylebone (Wembley Stadium at 15:47)

Trains on the Aylesbury via Amersham line would now call at all stations as per the regular timetable, the statement said.

Can I claim compensation if my train has been cancelled or delayed due to the strikes?

Southern, Merseyrail, Arriva Rail North and Greater Anglia said their usual refund and compensation arrangements remained in place.

What time are the strikes on Thursday 5 October likely to start and end?

The strike is expected to begin at 00:01 on Thursday and run for 24 hours.

Image copyright Getty Images

Which is the best route to avoid delays?

We received lots of questions from readers asking for the best ways to get to where they are going during the strikes.

All of the train companies directed us to the journey planner pages on their websites which have been programmed to take the strike action into account.

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