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When are the December and January UK rail strikes?

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I thought it worth doing a recap of the various rail strikes in December, as we’ve had a few reader emails about it.

You may also, if you are travelling TO the UK and don’t follow the news here, be unaware of the chaos that you may find.

Add in the Border Force strikes at major airports in late December and you may wish you’d stayed at home …..

UK rail strike dates december 2022 january 2023

December and January rail strike dates

Industrial action is being held by the RMT union, which represents 40,000 staff across Network Rail and 14 train operating companies.

Following the announcement of additional strike dates yesterday, there will be industrial action on:

  • Tuesday 13th and Wednesday 14th December
  • Friday 16th and Saturday 17th December
  • Saturday 24th December (from 6pm) to Tuesday 27th December (7am)
  • Tuesday 3rd and Wednesday 4th January
  • Friday 6th and Saturday 7th January

A separate strike will impact East Midlands Railway services between London St Pancras and South Yorkshire on 23rd and 24th December.

It is important to note that services will also be impacted in the half day before and after each strike. Services will be cancelled to avoid trains being ‘out of position’ when the walkouts begin and end.

Full details – and any changes to these plans since the date of publication of this article – can be found on the National Rail website here.

When will a timetable be published for the strike dates?

The Trainline website states that:

  • timetables for 12th December to 16th December period will be finalised by 10th December
  • timetables for 17th and 18th December will be finalised by 14th December

You should not rely on any schedule shown in an online journey planner before the dates above.

There is an overtime ban too

The RMT has also told its members to avoid any overtime work between 18th December and 2nd January.

This will have a disproportionate impact on services, because the rail industry has historically relied on staff working large amounts of overtime in order to run a full service.

Eurostar may see its own strikes

Security staff at Eurostar have given notice of strike action on:

  • 16th December
  • 18th December
  • 22nd December
  • 23rd December

No contingency plans have yet been announced as talks are continuing.

Border Force strike dates are now known

Members of the PCS union which run passport control at London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff and Glasgow airports will strike between 23rd December and 31st December.

For some reason 27th December is excluded!

The Government has drawn up contingency plans for members of the army to run passport control desks, but with minimal training it is likely that there will be substantial delays.

It remains to be seen if airlines will be asked to cancel some flights to avoid overcrowding.

Comments (13)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • FEMW says:

    Flying GLA-LHR on 3 Jan and landing at 2130. If anyone is able to say what options are available to get to Lewisham… I could do Zipcar but would rather not drive..

    • ExpatInBerlin says:

      Your best option would be to book a National Express coach from Heathrow to London Victoria. There’s a 22:10 from T5 that takes 1 hour (stops at T2 and T3 then straight to Victoria) and it’s £12. If your inbound GLA flight is delayed there’s another at 22:45 with an additional stop at Hammersmith so it’s a wee bit longer (1hr 14), also £12. From Victoria you can happily get one bus, the 185, all the way to Lewisham, for the very reasonable price of £1.65 🙂 Takes just over an hour but nice not to have to change! You can just use CityMapper or Google Maps for the 185, but it’s every 8 minutes. In case you get really delayed, rest assured both the National Express buses and 185 run through the night. Hope that helps!

  • David Allardice says:

    Need to add to this the pending Eurostar security strikes too!
    16, 18, 22, 23 Dec
    Eurostar not making arrangements at the moment as talks are continuing.
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-63808685

  • Matt says:

    For the rail strike dates, that’s Friday 6th and Saturday 7th January, not the 5th and 6th.

  • AndyGWP says:

    Fly on the 24th, return 31st

    Our villa can be cancelled up to the 9th December – what’s the betting our flight is cancelled on the 10th, or we get shifted to Gatwick flights 😫

    Quite deflated at the moment – everything we try and do ends up being a major stress 🥴

  • Olivier says:

    I need to go to Gatwick from Central London on the 16th. Are there usually minimum train services to airports running during strikes?

    • ExpatInBerlin says:

      Highly likely for all services to be cancelled I expect. Very best case scenario would be that one of the Gatwick to London routes (either Southern to Victoria or GA to London Bridge) still operates a very limited service i.e. 1 an hour but given it’s an RMT wide strike and not TOC-specific it’s impossible to say. Bus links aren’t brilliant, you can book the National Express for £12 but it’s a (ridiculous for the distance) 2 hr 30 journey from Gatwick to Victoria as the bus goes via all Heathrow terminals and does a drop off in Hammersmith before terminating at Victoria! But at least you know the bus will definitely run. Perhaps worth booking as a precaution if you’re happy to throw £12 at it for the peace of mind but then get the train if there is one. The alternative is quite an expensive taxi (I had to pay £80 from Clapham to Gatwick in the summer when all the trains were off one day).

    • Cats are best says:

      Another option is head there on the 15th and stay in a hotel, especially if it’s a morning flight, removes the risk of delays in the potentially heavier traffic on strike days.

  • Roy says:

    I believe the RMT has called off the overtime ban. They have called an additional strike from 6pm on Christmas Eve until 27 December, though.

    Mentioned here: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/dec/05/more-rail-strike-dates-announced-after-rmt-rebuffs-pay-offer

    • Roy says:

      Ah, seems that the RMT overtime ban at Network Rail has been called off. However, there are still overtime bans taking place at some of the train operating companies.

      So difficult to keep track of all this, with multiple unions in dispute with multiple employers.

  • roberto says:

    What’s the situation with airside terminal transfers on the 13th? We arrive about 5:20 pm and the HEX is stopping about that time , we need to get to T2 – will the tube/lizzy line be working ?

  • roberto says:

    That should read LANDSIDE.

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