GWR ramps up service as schools set to return

Railway strikes on GWR to severely impact school trains

Train operator GWR is warning schools whose pupils rely on the railway about strike action planned for next week.  

On Thursday 15 September, Aslef, RMT and Unite members will take action which will severely limit GWR train services, with many areas not receiving rail services at all and bus replacements unable to be provided. Many ‘school trains’ will operate on Friday 16 September but those looking to travel are advised to check their journey beforehand.

Passengers are advised to find alternative ways to travel on these days, and to only travel by train if absolutely necessary. Find out more about how the strike action may affect your journey here.

It is the first time during the long-running dispute where ‘school trains’ will be so badly affected.

Trades unions announced industrial action for Thursday 15, Saturday 17, Monday 26 and Tuesday 27 September. On these days train services will be severely disrupted and some parts of the GWR network will have no service at all. Train services on the days following industrial action will also be disrupted.

On strike days an extremely limited service will operate between 07:30 and 18:30, and the last trains will leave much earlier. Where trains are able to run, they are expected to be extremely busy and bus replacement services are not able to be provided.

The following travel advice is in place:
Wednesday 14 September

Trains will run as planned with some minor changes to late-night services. Please check before you travel. The Night Riviera will not operate.

Thursday 15 September – Strike Day

An extremely limited service will operate. Services will start at 07:30 and all journeys must be completed before 18:30.

Rail services will only operate on the following routes:

  • Between Bristol Temple Meads and London Paddington
  • Between Reading and Oxford
  • Between Reading and Basingstoke
  • Between Exeter and Plymouth

There are NO other train services on the GWR network.

Friday 16 September

Trains will be running across most routes but will continue to be disrupted with a reduced, revised timetable in operation. The Night Riviera will not operate.

Saturday 17 September – Strike Day

A significantly limited service will operate. Please make alternative travel arrangements and only travel by train if absolutely necessary.

A limited train service will operate on the following routes between 07:30-18:30:

  • Between London Paddington and Bristol Parkway, Cardiff Central and Plymouth via Bristol Temple Meads
  • On the Thames Valley branch lines (excluding Greenford)
  • Between Reading and Basingstoke
  • Between Bristol Temple Meads to Exeter St Davids/Plymouth
  • Between Cardiff Central to Bath Spa

There are NO other train services on the GWR network.

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

To help customers, GWR is allowing people with tickets for travel on alternative days as follows:

  • Tickets for travel on 15 September are valid for travel on 14, 16, 18, 19 and 20 September.
  • Tickets for travel on 16 September are valid for travel on 18, 19, 20 September.
  • Tickets for travel on 17 September are valid for travel on 16, 18, 19 and 20 September.
  • Tickets for travel on 18 September are valid for travel on 19 and 20 September.

The company’s refund policy and Book with Confidence policy remain in place. If you hold a return ticket, you can claim a refund of your unused full fare, even if only one leg of your journey is affected.
The following unions are taking action on the following dates:

  • 15 September
    • Strike Action: Aslef, RMT, Unite
    • Action short of a strike: TSSA
  • 17 September
    • Strike Action: RMT, Unite
    • Action short of a strike: TSSA
  • 26/27 September
    • Strike Action: TSSA

Contact Information

James Davis

Media Relations Manager

Great Western Railway

0845 410 4444

Notes to editors

Notes to editors

First Greater Western Limited, trading as “Great Western Railway” (GWR), operates trains across the Great Western franchise area, which includes South Wales, the West Country, the Cotswolds, across southern England and into London. GWR provides high speed, commuter, regional and branch line train services, and before the covid-19 pandemic helped over 100 million passengers reach their destinations every year. GWR has been awarded a National Rail Contract to continue operating the Great Western network, which shall run up to 21 June 2025, with the potential for a further three years at the Secretary of State’s discretion. Find out more here: