MSE News

UK's biggest rail strike in 30 years begins – here are your refund rights

Photo of sign warning of the June rail strike at Southsea train station.

Transport services across the UK will be disrupted this week as planned train strikes go ahead. Thousands of transport workers walked out on Tuesday (21 June) and will do so again on Thursday and Saturday, meaning many train services will be cancelled or delayed. See below for more, as well as what your refund rights are. 

Workers are striking over disputes relating to pay, jobs and conditions. The thousands of employees striking are part of Network Rail, London Underground, as well as 13 train operators.  

  • Network Rail and the 13 train operators will walk out on Tuesday (21 June), Thursday (23 June) and Saturday (25 June).

  • London Underground employees will walk out on Tuesday (21 June) for 24 hours

We've provided a table in the drop-down below detailing all the train operator's plans for the strike days.

  • Company-by-company strike action info

    Strike action by rail company

    Train company Affected journeys and planned action

    Avanti West Coast

     

    - Limited services will operate between 8am-6pm on strike days.

    - Several routes will not run (to North Wales, Stoke and Edinburgh).

    - All ticket sales suspended between 21 to 26 June.

    c2c

    - Limited services will operate between 7.30am-6.30pm on strike days.

    - This includes two trains/hour from London Fenchurch Street to Shoeburyness via Laindon and London Fenchurch Street to Pitsea via Rainham.

    - No trains via Ockendon or Chafford Hundred.

    Caledonian Sleeper - ALL departures cancelled between 20 and 24 June.
    Chiltern Railways

    - No trains will run north of Banbury or to Oxford between 21 and 25 June.

    - Services suspended across 'most routes' on strike days.

    CrossCountry

     

    - No services running from Birmingham New Street to Bristol Temple Meads, Cardiff Central, Peterborough, Cambridge to Stansted airport on strike days. 

    - 'Very limited' service between Bristol Parkway to Plymouth, Birmingham New Street to Edinburgh Waverly via Leeds, York and Newcastle.

    - Reduced service between Birmingham New Street and Manchester Piccadilly.

    East Midlands Railway 

     

    - Reduced services between 21 and 26 June.

    - One train/hour will run in each direction on most routes. 

    Gatwick Express

     

    - No service on strike days. 

    - Passengers due to travel should use Southern or Thameslink trains. 

    - Sunday service will run on days following the strikes.

    Grand Central

     

    - Three trains in each direction will run on strike days.
    Great Northern

    - Few trains on strike days, with no services east of Ely to King’s Lynn.

    - Amended Sunday service on days following strikes.

    Great Western Railway

     

    - Number of services not running on strike days including ALL those in Cornwall, Devon, plus South Wales main line, Heart of Wessex line, Seven Beach line, North Cotswolds line and South Cotswolds line. 

    - Over half of trains from London to Castle Cary between 22 and 24 June cancelled.

    Greater Anglia

     

    - No trains on regional and branch lines on strike days.

    - 'Limited service' on some routes to and from London Liverpool Street.

    Heathrow Express

     

     

     

    - Half hourly timetable between 7.30am and 6.30pm on strike days.

    Hull Trains

     

    - Trains only between Doncaster and London King’s Cross on strike days.
    London North Eastern Railway

    - Around 38% of usual service levels planned. 

    - Services on strike days limited.

    - Two trains/hour between Euston and Northampton and one per/hour between Birmingham New Street and Northampton.

    - No trains between Euston and Crewe.

    Lumo

     

    - Some disruption to services throughout the week. 
    Merseyrail - No train services and no rail replacement buses on strike days. 
    Northern

    - Services between 21 and 26 June will be suspended on most routes.

    - 'Significant impact' on non-strike days. 

    ScotRail

    - No trains running north of Glasgow or Edinburgh on strike days.

    - Two trains/hour between the cities and Falkirk. 

    South Western Railway

    - 'Severely limited' service running between 7.15am and 6.30pm on strike days and only on some routes. 

    - Only four trains/hour between Waterloo and Woking and two trains/hour between Waterloo and Basingstoke.

    Southeastern

    - Most stations and routes closed on strike days.

    - 'Severely reduced' service elsewhere.

    - No service to or from London Victoria or Charing Cross. 

    - Most of Kent and East Sussex network will be closed except for high-speed to Ashford International. 

    Southern

    - Most of the network will be closed on strike days.

    - Service will run on Brighton Mainline to London Bridge and London Victoria with extra trains from Tattenham Corner, Epsom Downs, Sutton and West Croydon via Crystal Palace.

    - Amended Sunday service after each strike day.

    Stansted Express

    - Reduced service, with later first trains and earlier last trains on strike days.

    - No service form Stansted Airport to Norwich and Cambridge. 

    Thameslink

    - Fewer trains than normal on strike days. 

    - Services will be split north and south, with nothing between London St Pancras and London Bridge.

    - Amended Sunday service after each strike day. 

    TransPennine Express

    - 'Significant' reduction in services on strike days.

    - Several stations closed, including Middlesbrough, Scarborough and Selby. 

    - Significant disruption on 22 and 24 June.

    Transport for London

    - Avoid travelling on strike days if possible as most services will be 'severely disrupted'. 

    - No tube service before 8am on 22 June.

    - Reduced service on London Overground and Elizabeth Line on non-strike days. 

    Transport for Wales

    - Most lines closed on strike days.

    - On 21 and 23 June there will be a reduced service between Radyr and Trehebert, Aberdare and Merthyr Tydfil, with replacement buses between Radyr and Cardiff Central. 

    - Limited trains between Radyr and Treherbert and Aberdare and Pontypridd on 25 June with replacement buses between Radyr and Cardiff. 

    West Midlands Railway

    - 'Considerable impact' on trains on strike days. 

    - Very limited service on 22 and 24 June.

    - No trains on several routes on strike days to and from Birmingham New Street, including Hereford, Shrewsbury and Walsall. 

    Additional reporting from the Press Association 

Ticket refund rights if your train is cancelled or likely to be cancelled 

You've got two choices: 

  • You can use your ticket on another day up until 28 June: Single-use tickets for strike days can be used the day before the date on the ticket, or up to Tuesday of next week (28 June) – this excludes season tickets. If you want to swap single-use tickets for an alternative date later than 28 June, check with the rail company or the firm you purchased the tickets from.

  • Or you can get a full refund if you cannot travel. Generally, if your train is cancelled or rescheduled, you are entitled to a full refund from the firm you were due to travel with for any ticket type, including advance tickets (see how to claim your money back). This includes where the train is cancelled due to strike action.

Ticket refund rights if your train is delayed

For single-use rail tickets: 

If you have paid for a single-use ticket for this week, be it an advance ticket, off-peak ticket or anytime ticket, you should be eligible for a partial or full refund if your train is delayed due to the strikes. 

What you are entitled to claim back depends on how long your train is delayed for. The majority of train firms now operate the 'Delay Repay' system, which means they pay out regardless of whether the delay was their fault. While the are some variations to how it works from company to company, in most cases it's as follows:

  • If it's delayed by 15-29 minutes you'll get 25% back (12.5% off a return). 
  • If it's delayed by 30-59 minutes you'll get 50% back (25% off a return). 
  • You'll get 100% back for 60-119 minutes (50% off a return). 
  • You'll get 100% back off a single or return for 120+ minutes.

To see which companies offer Delay Repay, and how they operate it, see our Trains delays guide.

For season tickets:

Most season ticket holders can also claim for individual delays, but the rules vary and it's also worth checking if you can claim for continual delays. For full info, see our summary of season ticket rules.

How to claim for cancellations and delays

While the rules around refunds for train delays and cancellations are complicated, submitting your claim is usually straightforward and quick to do. Just follow these five steps to claim for delayed AND cancelled trains (providing you didn't use your ticket on another service):

  1. Look up the train company running the service and find out how much you can get back. See our list of individual firms' policies.

  2. Make a note of the delay and the reason for it (if you can't remember the length of the delay, use the Recent Train Times tool). Fill in the claim form – you can find it online (see a list of firms' websites) or request one from the station or by phone.

  3. Keep hold of your tickets – you'll need to take a photo of them or scan them if applying online or post them to the train company if claiming that way. You need to claim directly to the train company, even if you purchased your tickets through a third party reseller.

  4. Apply within the time limit of 28 days.

  5. If you're rejected for compensation or a refund but still think you have a case, complain – you may be able to escalate your case to the Rail Ombudsmen or independent watchdog Transport Focus. See more in What to do if your claim's rejected.

Impacted by Tube or TfL delays or cancellations? You can't get a refund or compensation for strike action

You can't get a full or partial refund for any delays or cancellations on London Underground, London Overground, DLR or TfL Rail caused by strike action. This includes those using pay-as-you-go services and those with weekly, monthly or annual season tickets. 

However, TfL does pay out for other delays – for full info, see our Tube delays guide.

MSE weekly email

FREE weekly MoneySaving email

For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes simply sign up today – it's spam-free!