Train strike dates, cancelled services and overtime ban explained

Train strike dates, cancelled services and overtime ban explained

Britain’s first rail strike of 2024 will begin next week. Train drivers who belong to the Aslef union will walk out between Tuesday 30 January and Monday 5 February, with different operators affected each day.

There is also an overtime ban in place from Monday 29 January to Tuesday 6 February.

The strikes are part of a long-running pay dispute with rail companies.

LNER, a government-run operator, will not use minimum service levels (MSL) regulations that could oblige union members to work during industrial action. Subsequently, an extra five-day LNER strike by Aslef members has been cancelled.

A new law means that employers can require staff who had planned to strike to provide 40 per cent of timetabled rail services. The BBC had reported that LNER was the only operator thought to have told Aslef that it would use the new regulations during the upcoming strikes. Now, none of the rail firms affected by the strike is expected to implement MSL.

Aslef has previously warned that minimum service levels could lead to more industrial action.

When are the strikes?

There are rail strikes between 30 January and 6 February. The overtime ban starts on 29 January and runs until 6 February for all operators except LNER, for which there is an additional overtime ban. Here are the rail firms that are affected day-by-day, and details on expected services.

Tuesday 30 January

  • Gatwick Express (no trains running, but limited shuttle services in place, see
  • Great Northern (no trains)
  • Southeastern (no trains)
  • South Western Railway (some trains running, see
  • Southern (no trains, except for a shuttle service between London Victoria and Gatwick, see

Wednesday 31 January

  • Northern (no trains)
  • TransPennine Express (no trains)

Thursday 1 February

  • No industrial action, but an overtime ban is in place

Friday 2 February

Saturday 3 February

  • Avanti West Coast (no trains)
  • East Midlands Railway (no trains)
  • West Midlands Trains (no trains)

Sunday 4 February

  • No industrial action, but an overtime ban is in place

Monday 5 February

  • Chiltern (no trains)
  • CrossCountry (no trains)
  • Great Western Railway (some services, see
  • LNER (regular trains on some routes)

Tuesday 6 February

  • No industrial action, but overtime ban runs for its final day

Tuesday 6 February – Saturday 10 February

  • No industrial action, but overtime ban is in place for LNER

What do minimum service levels mean for passengers?

Employers can now require a minimum service level (MSL) on strike days of 40 per cent of normal service, after new strike regulations came into force on 8 December, 2023.

This means union members can be obliged to work during a strike to enable some service.

According to the BBC, LNER was the only rail firm affected by the strikes that had informed Aslef that it planned to use the new legislation. However, Aslef told i that LNER has now “withdrawn its MSL line”.

An LNER spokesperson said: “We welcome news that the threat of extended disruption to our services has been lifted. We encourage ASLEF to work with us to find a way to end this long running dispute which only damages the rail industry.”

Aslef general secretary Mike Whelan has previously said that the new MSL legislation “won’t ease industrial strife. It will likely just make it worse”.

None of the rail firms with services affected by this round of industrial action are expected to use MSL.

How will the overtime ban affect service?

MSL rules cannot be used for union bans on non-contractual rest-day working.

Aslef’s overtime ban is expected to cause thousands of cancellations, which could be announced at short notice. Last-minute alterations to services are also likely.

A previous statement from Aslef said that: “none of the train companies employs enough drivers to provide a proper service – the service they have promised passengers and businesses they will deliver – without asking drivers to work their days off.”

Northern was contacted for comment.

What are the train strikes about?

In April 2023, Aslef’s executive committee rejected an offer of 4% pay rises for two years. The offer was made on condition staff would accept industry-wide changes to driver training, and negotiate changes to work patterns.

Mr Whelan accused ministers – who have the final say of what is offered – of not wanting to resolve the dispute, and called for the Government and train companies to “come to the table with a realistic offer”, warning drivers are ready for a long dispute.

The Rail Delivery Group has said drivers had been made an offer which would take base salaries to nearly £65,000 for a four-day week without overtime.

The Department for Transport said: “Aslef is now the only rail union that is continuing to strike while refusing to put a fair and reasonable offer to its members.”

Members of the RMT union, which represents many other rail workers, accepted a deal in November which gave staff a backdated 5% pay rise for 2022-23. However talks are still to take place over this year’s increase.