Rail strikes in Wales: People told only travel if 'absolutely necessary'

On both strike days, an extremely limited service will operate. Credit: Transport for Wales

People are being advised to only travel if absolutely necessary as more train strikes are due to take place, affecting travel across Wales.

Rail services will be severely affected from Wednesday (July 27) to Thursday (July 28), with planned industrial action by the RMT, Aslef and the TSSA unions.

On both strike days, an extremely limited service will operate between 7am and 6.30pm, and last trains will leave much earlier. (On non-strike days, no services will run before 7am).

Due to the timing of the strike action, services either side of the strike days will also be affected up to and including Sunday July 31.

Transport for Wales has urged passengers not to rely on their services during strikes Credit: Transport for Wales

Passengers are advised to find alternative ways to travel during this time and only travel if absolutely necessary, as the majority of train services will not operate and there will be no services on some routes.

Great Western Railway (GWR) has said it will operate as many trains as possible during the strike action, however, most train services will be affected on the days announced.

Looking ahead to the industrial action this week, Brendan Kelly, RMT regional organiser for South Wales and West, said: "Talks are still ongoing which is always a positive thing, I have to say, for both parties.

"Unfortunately, it's come out of the media today from our general secretary and also from the industry that there's still some areas which I think need to be dealt with. And I think the problem is, what the industry's seeking is, it's almost like a cliff edge what they're presenting, with 3,000 job losses and a dismantling of conditions and ways of working that the industry has been using for many years.

"We're not against modernisation, we've modernised many ways for the industry, the industry's completely different from when I joined it thirty-three years ago, and I have to say we've done that through negotiation. So to be confronted in this way, in a confrontational cliff edge-style negotiation, is really the wrong thing for the industry."

The National Union of Rail, Maritime, and Transport Workers (RMT) has announced strike action will take place on tomorrow (27 July).

Speaking about the dispute, he continued: "Pay's not un-important, it's important to all of us - we have lives, we have families, we have bills.

"Our members have suffered at least a two-year and a three-year pay freeze, which effectively is a pay reduction and their ability to pay their bills and feed their families, and that's not right.

"They've worked through the pandemic and the industry could afford it, because 600 million a year has been going out straight through the industry, straight into the pockets of shareholders and the wealthy owners. So that can't be right, why do the workers have to take the hit in this way?

"We have modernised over the years and there are many changes that have taken place through negotiation and we will continue to do that in the future. What they've confronted us with this time though is that our members have to endure another pay freeze, unless they almost set up a bonfire of their terms and conditions and their ways of working, and we're not prepared to do that."

Wednesday 27 July

The majority of rail services across the Wales and Borders network will be suspended as a result of the dispute between RMT and Network Rail, which means TfW will be unable to operate rail services on Network Rail infrastructure.  

  • An overview of TfW services:

Wales and cross border services

  • The only services operating will be a Cardiff to Newport shuttle, with one train operating hourly in each direction, between 07:30 and 18:30 hours.

  • Unfortunately, no other services will be able to operate.

Core Valley Lines

  • Train services will operate between Cardiff Central and Rhymney, Treherbert, Aberdare and Merthyr Tydfil in an hourly service in each direction between 07:30 and 18:30 hours.

  • Trains will be able to operate between Radyr and Treherbert, Aberdare and Merthyr Tydfil before 07:30 hours and after 18:30 hours (and then up to 20:30 hours due to engineering work). Road transport will enable customers to travel between Cardiff Central and Radyr in each direction outside of these hours.

  • However, customers are advised there will be extremely limited road transport capacity.

  • Customers are advised all train and road transport services are expected to be extremely busy due to the reduced service frequency.

Note: This is a change from the three days of industrial action in June, when rail services started/finished at Radyr.

There is also expected to be disruption on the days prior and after the industrial action.

Thursday 28th July

  • Due to the shift patterns of Network Rail’s signallers and the significant challenges moving trains and crew to operate between strike days there is likely to be disruption.

  • Customers are urged to check their journey before they travel. Online journey planners will be updated between two and four days before the first strike day. An overview as follows:

Wales and cross border services

  • No trains will run before 7am on all Wales and cross border services. Services are likely to be much busier than usual – particularly the first services of the day.

Core Valley Lines

  • The first services of the day that depart Treherbert, Aberdare and Merthyr Tydfil will all be timed so they will be arriving into Radyr after 07:00 hours. No trains will run before 7am on any lines except between Treherbert, Aberdare, Merthyr Tydfil – Radyr.

  • No pre-planned road transport services will be in operation before 18:30 hours on Core Valley lines.

  • Services are likely to be much busier than usual – particularly the first services of the day.

Saturday 30 July

  • TfW will be running a full timetable but services are likely be impacted by strike action at other train operating companies. This could result in short-notice cancellations and changes.

  • Services from Swansea – Newport are expected to be very busy due to the reduced Great Western Railways timetable. Passengers are advised not to travel unless necessary.

  • TfW services Shrewsbury - Birmingham are expected to be very busy with the Commonwealth Games taking place and no services being operated by West Midlands Trains. Passengers are advised not to travel unless necessary.

Existing tickets

Customers with existing non-season tickets valid for travel on Wednesday 27 July and Saturday 30 July can use those tickets anytime between Tuesday 26 July and Tuesday 2 August. Customers are encouraged to avoid travelling on Friday 29 July and Sunday 31 July as services are expected to be extremely busy.

Alternatively, customers can claim a full refund, with no admin fee charged. Season ticket holders can apply for compensation via Delay Repay.

In the meantime, TfW is suspending sales of Advance tickets for the strike dates in order to minimise the number of people disrupted. They are advising customers continue to check the TfW or Trainline websites, and those of other operators, for updates.