Summer strike action to hit Northern, Merseyrail and Southern Rail as RMT begins fresh walkouts

Rebecca Smith
Southern rail is among the rail operators to be affected
Southern rail is among the rail operators to be affected (Source: Getty)

A fresh set of rail strikes are set to disrupt train passengers across England, starting from today.

Three straight days of walkouts will be held on Arriva Rail North, which trades as Northern, while Merseyrail staff are striking on 8, 10 and 23 July. Workers on Southern rail plan to walk out on Monday 10 July.

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The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union is rowing with the firms about so-called driver-only operated trains and changes to the role of the guard.

The union says it is concerned about safety, and general secretary Mick Cash said "flagrant disregard for the safety issues at the heart of the dispute" has meant the union had "no option but to press on with the campaign of strike action".

Northern said it expects to run over 40 per cent of its timetable and will have extra rail replacement buses, but the firm warned that services are expected to be extremely busy and passengers should leave more time for travelling.

Union members on Southern will strike more than a year after their first industrial action against the firm in a bitter dispute that is yet to be resolved.

It comes after transport secretary Chris Grayling accused senior Labour figures of stoking unrest on Southern rail, and encouraging further industrial action on the network earlier this week.

Shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said Grayling's claims were "complete and utter fantasy" and the minister's "anti-trade union stance has significantly worsened industrial relations".

Read more: Transport secretary accuses Labour of fuelling railway unrest


Regional director Sharon Keith has said Northern is doing everything it can "to keep our customers on the move during the three days of industrial action affecting our network".

Today and Monday, most services will run between 7am and 7pm, though many routes will be winding down from late afternoon.

Tomorrow, most services will operate between 9am and 5pm.

Check out Northern's full strike timetable here.


​Managing director Jan Chaudhry-van der Velde said his team had drawn up "the best possible timetable that we can to provide a limited train service on both strike days".

Again, trains will run from 7am to 7pm, with most services planned to run every half an hour. But some stations will be closed and there will be no trains running on Ellesmere Port, Hunts Cross, and Kirkby lines.

The 23 July strike overlaps with the last day of The Open golf championship at Royal Birkdale, but the tournament site says a Merseyrail service for people to get there and back is planned.

Check out Merseyrail's full strike timetable here.


The firm said the Monday industrial action is "not expected to have any further effect on services".

An overtime ban by drivers' union Aslef is also ongoing, and Southern said it will run the amended timetable in place for Aslef's overtime ban. It cut around a quarter of its services to deal with the ban's introduction last month.

Check out Southern's full strike timetable here.

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