Bristol train strikes: when is it, all rail companies affected by national strike & why are they striking?

At least 40,000 Network Rail workers and 14 different train companies will walkout leading to disrupted train services across the South West.

The United Kingdom is once again hours away from another national strike that will have a drastic impact on travel in the South West.

Whilst Bristol and its surrounding area have had to also deal with imminent Royal Mail strike action.

Nothing more disruptive than that of the RMT railway strikes which occurred over three dates in June of this year.

Bristolians and music lovers will remember this disruption vividly, with the industrial action taking place at the same time as the nearby Glastonbury Festival..

Now it has been confirmed that the railway union is set to have one more additional strike date which will take place this week.

Whilst the Aslef union is also scheduled for a day of strike action this week too in what is due to cause a hectic week for Bristolian travellers.

Here is everything you need to know about the RMT and Asref strikes in Bristol; such as when it is scheduled to take place, why workers are striking and what services will be affected.

When are the strikes scheduled to take place?

Bristol City Council are not following London’s example in plans to create an Underground railway network for the city, as Tube trains are powered by diesel and highly polluting.

The planned strike action is set to take place across two 24-hour periods this week.

RMT members throughout the UK will walkout on Wednesday, 27 July 2022.

Whilst Aslef members will go on strike on Saturday, 30 July 2022.

Why are workers going on strike?

A very quiet Bristol Temple Meads train station today as an industrial action strik

Much like that of the Royal Mail walkout and the previous RMT strike action, the main motivation is over pay and safety issues.

The trade unions have been in discussion with officials at Network Rail over a pay increase given the rate of inflation and crippling cost of living crisis in the United Kingdom currently.

Both had been in deep-rooted conversation since the biggest rail strikes in 30 years took place over three days last month.

Railway strikers had voted overwhelmingly in favour of striking across Network Rail and 15 train operating companies.

With a turnout of 71%, 89% voted in favour of striking last month.

However, talks have since stalled between RMT and Network Rail, leading to yet another day of planned strike action that will hit Bristol’s railway services on Wednesday.

Mick Lynch, who is the RMT general secretary, said that its members are more determined than ever to fight for better treatment by Network Rail and will not be bullied by officials: “Strike action will take place this Wednesday as planned and our members are more determined than ever to secure a decent pay rise, job security and good working conditions.”

“Network Rail have not made any improvement on their previous pay offer and the train companies have not offered us anything new.

“In fact Network Rail have upped the ante threatening to impose compulsory redundancies and unsafe 50% cuts to maintenance work, if we did not withdraw our planned strike action.” he added in an official statement.

“The train operating companies have put driver-only operations on the table along with ransacking our members’ terms and conditions.

“RMT will continue to negotiate in good faith but we will not be bullied or cajoled by anyone.

“The government needs to stop their interference in this dispute so the rail employers can come to a negotiated settlement with us.”

Will this impact services in Bristol and what train operating companies are affected?

Trains parked up at Bristol Temple Meads train station.

Network Rail have confirmed that due to the strike action taken on by over 40,000 workers and 14 train operating companies that only 20% of services will run on Wednesday.

Some regions and cities, such as Blackpool, Portsmouth and Bournemouth, will have no train services running in or out at all.

But what will the situation look like in Bristol on strike day?

The following train operating companies that run services in and around Bristol will be drastically affected by the planned strike action:

No rail services will be operated on the following routes:

  • All lines in Cornwall, including all branch lines
  • West of Exeter towards Plymouth/Cornwall 
  • All branch lines in Devon such as Barnstaple, Exmouth, Paignton, Okehampton
  • South Wales main line (Carmarthen/Swansea–Cardiff Central)
  • Berks & Hants line (Reading–Taunton via Castle Cary)
  • Wessex main line (Bath Spa–Portsmouth Harbour)
  • Heart of Wessex line (Westbury–Weymouth)
  • TransWilts line (Swindon–Westbury via Melksham)
  • Severn Beach line (Bristol Temple Meads–Severn Beach)
  • North Cotswolds line (Hereford/Worcester–Oxford)
  • South Cotswolds line (Cheltenham Spa–Swindon)
  • Worcester/Gloucester–Bristol
  • Greenford branch line
  • North Downs line (Reading–Gatwick Airport)

Whilst for the Aslef strikes, which only consists of Great Western Railway members, Bristol is set to bear the brunt of a drastically reduced schedule from the train operating company.

Most parts of the GWR network will run no services on Saturday, 30 July.

As follows is the extremely limited GWR service lines, starting later and finishing much earlier than normal.

  • Bristol Temple Meads-London Paddington
  • Bristol Temple Meads-Cardiff Central
  • Reading to Oxford
  • Reading to Basingstoke

No other Great Western Railway services will run in the city on Saturday.

For more information, visit the GWR website for strike timetables.