Bristol train strikes January 2023: GWR issue travel advice as six days of industrial action begins

Rail strikes throughout Christmas sparked travel chaos, which is set to continue into 2023 - here’s what you need to know including which days you can use tickets and how to claim a refund.

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The travel chaos we saw on the railways over Christmas is set to continue into 2023, with further industrial action by train staff planned from Tuesday (January 2) until Saturday (January 7) just as Bristol returns to work. The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) has confirmed more walkouts on January 3, 4, 6 and 7 while train drivers’ union Aslef has called a strike on January 5.

Great Western Railway, which operates most of the trains in and out of Bristol Temple Meads, has urged passengers not to travel unless absolutely necessary on strike days.  A spokesman said: “Throughout the new-year period, a reduced timetable will be in operation on all routes, and there will be some late-night cancellations; check your journey before travelling, especially if relying on last trains which may be subject to short-notice alteration or cancellation.

“On the days affected, passengers are advised to find an alternative way to travel. Where services are running, customers should only travel by train if absolutely necessary, and it is highly recommended that a seat reservation is made.

“Other train operators are also affected by this action, so onward travel could also be affected. Where we are able to run services, they are expected to be extremely busy and we are not able to provide bus replacement services.”

For those who do need to travel, GWR has issued the following advice including a full breakdown of the strikes and which of its service will be running:

Monday, January 2

Although not a strike day, trains will be disrupted throughout the day. There will be a reduced level of service, and trains that do run are expected to be very busy.

You should check your journey before you travel, especially if travelling late at night, as short-notice alterations and cancellations are likely. The Night Riviera sleeper service will not operate.

Rail strikes on Tuesday, January 3 and Wednesday, January 4

January 3 and January 4 are strike days and an extremely limited service will operate. Services will start at 7.30am and all journeys must be completed before 6.30am.

The message is ‘do not travel unless absolutely necessary’ this week as train strikes hit Bristol once again.The message is ‘do not travel unless absolutely necessary’ this week as train strikes hit Bristol once again.
The message is ‘do not travel unless absolutely necessary’ this week as train strikes hit Bristol once again.

Passengers are urged not to travel on these days. The Night Riviera sleeper service will not operate.

A very limited service will run only on the following routes between:

  • London Paddington and Bristol Temple Meads, extended to Plymouth every other hour
  • London Paddington and Bristol Parkway
  • London Paddington and Cardiff
  • London Paddington and Oxford
  • Cardiff and Westbury (via Bristol Parkway)
  • Bristol Temple Meads and Plymouth
  • Reading and Didcot Parkway
  • Slough and Windsor
  • Maidenhead and Marlow
  • Twyford and Henley
  • Reading and Basingstoke

Rail strikes on Thursday, January 5

January 5 is a strike day and an extremely limited service will operate. As before, services will start at 7.30am and all journeys must be completed before 6.30pm.

The Night Riviera sleeper service will not operate. A very limited service will run only on the following routes between:

  • London Paddington and Bristol Temple Meads
  • Reading and Basingstoke
  • Reading and Oxford

Rail strikes on Friday, January 6

The industrial action continues on January 6 and an extremely limited service will operate. Services will again start at 7.30am and all journeys must be completed before 6.30pm.

The Night Riviera sleeper service will not operate.  A very limited service will run only on the following routes between:

  • London Paddington and Bristol Temple Meads, extended to Plymouth every other hour
  • London Paddington and Bristol Parkway
  • London Paddington and Cardiff (will not operate on Saturday)
  • London Paddington and Oxford
  • Cardiff to Westbury (will not operate on Saturday)
  • Bristol Parkway to Westbury (Saturday only)
  • Bristol Temple Meads and Plymouth
  • Reading and Didcot Parkway
  • Slough and Windsor
  • Maidenhead and Marlow
  • Twyford and Henley
  • Reading and Basingstoke

Rail strikes on Saturday, January 7

The industrial action continues on January 7 and an extremely limited service will operate. Services will start at 7.30am and all journeys must be completed before 6.30pm.

The Night Riviera sleeper service will not operate. A very limited service will run only on the following routes between:

  • London Paddington and Oxford
  • London Paddington and Didcot Parkway 
  • London Paddington and Reading
  • Slough and Windsor
  • Maidenhead and Marlow
  • Twyford and Henley-on-Thames
  • Reading and Basingstoke
  • Didcot and Oxford
  • Cardiff Central and Westbury calling most stations
  • Bristol and Plymouth

Sunday, January 8

January 8 will see the strike action end, but trains will continue to be disrupted. There will be a reduced level of service throughout the day, a later start to services in the morning and some late-night services may be cancelled.

Trains that are operating will be extremely busy so check before you travel. The Night Riviera sleeper service will resume.

How to claim a refund for cancelled or delayed services

Customers who have already purchased tickets for strike days can claim a full refund or amend their ticket. Those who travel and are delayed may be entitled to Delay Repay compensation if they are delayed by 15 minutes or more.

To help customers, tickets will be valid for travel on alternative days on GWR services as follows: Tickets for January 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 can be used the day before, or up to and including, Tuesday, January 10.

Season-ticket holders can apply for compensation through the Delay Repay scheme.

Servest, who clean GWR’s trains and our stations, are also on strike on Saturday 31 December, so passengers are being urged to help keep trains clean by taking their rubbish with them.