Update on rail services during industrial action in July 2023

Published: 29 June 2023

Industrial action will affect train services on various dates in July as a result of different sets of action called by the ASLEF and RMT unions.

We know this will be inconvenient for customers, and this note is designed to provide an overview to help with planning journeys. As always, we would be grateful if you could use your networks and channels to ensure this information is shared as widely as possible.


There are two periods of industrial action confirmed to be taking place, with different impacts on different days:

  1. We have been notified of a nationwide ban on overtime called by ASLEF between Monday 3 and Saturday 8 July. Similar to the experience in May 2023, this means an amended timetable with fewer services will run on all affected dates. The amended timetable has been designed to help customers plan their journey with more certainty and consistency, with fewer on-the-day cancellations and less short notice disruption.
  2. Nationwide RMT strike action has been called for Thursday 20, Saturday 22 and Saturday 29 July. On these dates, while details are still being worked up, it is likely to be a fairly similar scenario to the experience during previous RMT strike dates - services will be limited across the network, with a post-07:00 start, an early shut down and no service in some locations.

The table below shows dates affected by industrial action in the left column and the expected update for journey planners in the right column.

July industrial action overview table

Trade unions need to provide two weeks’ notice of industrial action, meaning there is the possibility of additional action being confirmed within the range of dates set out above. Should this happen, we will let you know.

Services during next week’s ASLEF overtime ban

Our approach between Monday 3 and Saturday 8 July inclusive is to operate an amended timetable to provide greater certainty to customers about train times and frequencies with the aim of avoiding last minute cancellations and short-notice disruption due to the overtime ban. This is the same approach we took during the last ovdertime ban by called by ASLEF.

This is needed because our usual service has some overtime built in - called rest day working. This provides greater flexibility to help cover sickness, holidays or release for training. Behind the scenes, the timetable is connected, so for example one driver’s shift may connect lots of other shifts together – meaning having just one uncovered shift can have a disproportionate impact. This means we cannot run our normal timetable while this industrial action is taking place.

The amended timetable will for the Govia Thameslink Railway network as a whole, provide approximately 75% of a normal weekday’s service. This will vary by individual route, but it has been designed using our weekday service as a base to try and cover as many typical journeys - such as school travel - as possible.

Travel advice during the ASLEF overtime ban

Trains throughout the week of 3–8 July will be much busier than usual, especially in the peak hours. We are advising customers to plan their journeys carefully, that it is likely they will need to queue, they may not be able to board the first service and to therefore allow extra time. Travelling outside of the peak hours will provide a much more comfortable journey.

Online journey planners such as nationalrail.co.uk have been updated today, Thursday 29 June for trains between Monday 3 and Friday 7 July and on Saturday 1 July for journeys on Saturday 8 July.

If travelling during the week of the overtime ban, everyone is strongly advised check all their journeys in advance and before setting out for the station, as train times will be different to usual.

RMT strike dates in mid-to-late July

On Thursday 20, Saturday 22 and Saturday 29 July, strike action by the RMT will take place. While the details are yet to be fully confirmed, it is likely that services will be limited across the network, with a later start, an early shut down and no service in some locations.

More detailed information about the level of service will be operating on these dates will be confirmed closer to the time, and we will share this with you as soon as we can.

We are however able to confirm that online journey planners will be updated on Thursday 13 July for trains on the 20 July, and Friday 14 July for trains on 20 July. Journeys on Saturday 29 July will be available to view from 20 July.

Similar to previous experiences of an RMT strike, there will also likely be impacts on the day after each strike, with no services until approximately 07:00 on Friday 21 July, and alterations to early morning services pre-09:00 on Sunday 23 and Sunday 30 July.

We know how disruptive this period of industrial action will be for our customers, so your help in ensuring as many passengers as possible have this information and check journey planners before they travel is invaluable.

If you have any questions, please let us know.

Contact the GTR stakeholder team at: GTRPublicAffairs@gtrailway.com