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London to Edinburgh

We'll be traveling from London to Edinburgh Friday July 12. We're planning on taking the train but my wife is a bit concerned about how to navigate any potential rail strikes. It seems like driving would be the easiest alternative but we're flying home from Edinburgh so it would be a one way rental and we would rather avoid the long drive if possible.

It's my understanding that we should know of any potential rail strikes 2 weeks in advance. My questions:

1) If they are announced, how often are strikes cancelled or do they usually go ahead? How do train ticket refunds work?

2) Is booking a flight if a strike is announced a feasible back-up plan?

We're not trying to make any contingency reservations...just figure out our options so it will be easier to be flexible when traveling. We (especially my wife) like to have lots of information available.

Posted by
892 posts

It's really unlikely there will be rail strikes in July.

We have a general election coming up on 4th July. At the moment, Parliament has been suspended for election campaigning. The rail strikes are closely tied to the political process and there's essentially no politics (aside from electioneering) going on at the moment.

Post 4th July, it's highly likely we will have a change of the majority party in government. Given the nature of how our politics work, one would hope that the new government will be more of a mind to work with the unions and train operators to have the disputes settled. I think the unions will be holding fire to see how it goes post-election.

I don't think you need worry about stikes. Go ahead and book your tickets on the train. If the worst did happen, the train companies seem to have the delay and cancellation compensation process down to a fine art now after lots of practice. It should be no issue getting a refund. I don't think you need to cross the bridge of arranging alternative transport yet, if at all.

There's other regular contributors to this forum who are much more expert in the workings of the railway industry than me. They may be able to add their perspective or correct me.

Posted by
6682 posts

Additionally to the above LNER run services on every strike day- a limited service, but they do run. Also Lumo run trains from London to Edinburgh, and they are not involved in the disputes, so they run as normal.

So, if you want to be certain now, then book a Lumo service.

But really there is nothing to worry about, as you are guaranteed to get there without making other modal choices, even in the (as stated) unlikely event of another strike.

The air fares will go through the roof if there is a strike announced, and probably fill up.

There are also three bus companies who run from London to Edinburgh- National Express, Flix and Megabus. Frankly if you are going to go by road it is going to be a long journey. You might as well let someone else do the driving, than you.