Rail strikes: will I be able to get a train to or from the airport?

The latest round of national rail strikes is under way. Train drivers belong to the Aslef trade union are striking on Friday 1 September, while up to 20,000 members of the RMT will walk out on Saturday 2 September. Both unions are targeting leisure passengers – including families returning from holidays abroad.

Many trains that would normally serve rail stations have been cancelled – yet there are still train options available at the UK’s busiest rail stations.

Unless otherwise stated these arrangements apply on both strike days. Please check with the operator before making final plans.

Heathrow airport

The Heathrow Express is running only intermittently. But the cheaper and more useful Elizabeth Line (£12.30 rather than £25, and serving stations across central and east London) is running normally to and from all terminals.

The London Underground, whose Piccadilly Line serves all Heathrow terminals, is running normally.

Gatwick airport

Normally on Aslef strike days no trains run. But a nonstop shuttle service between London Victoria and Gatwick airport is operating from around 5.30pm to 11pm.

The journey takes 30 minutes and premium Gatwick Express prices (£19.40 one way) apply even though the service is actually run by Southern.

On Saturday 2 September, there will be frequent trains from London Bridge and London Victoria – typically eight an hour – and services to and from Brighton.

Stansted airport

On Friday hourly services are running from London Liverpool Street to Stansted until around 11pm.

Saturday services are half-hourly from 7.10am until 9.40pm.

Luton airport

Friday: no services.

Saturday: frequent trains from London St Pancras International to Luton Airport Parkway, with a shuttle connection to the terminal, from around 7am to 9pm.

Links going north towards Bedford and Corby are also running on Saturday.

Southampton airport

Friday: no services.

Saturday: trains approximately half-hourly from London Waterloo, though with slower journey times than usual (75 minutes minimum). Woking, Basingstoke and Winchester are also served direct.

Birmingham airport

Friday: no services.

Saturday: frequent trains from Coventry and Birmingham New Street, but only roughly between 7.30am and 6.30pm.

Manchester airport

Friday: only Transport for Wales services to and from Manchester Piccadilly, Chester and Llandudno.

Saturday: an interesting range of options, including:

Transport for Wales services to and from Manchester Piccadilly, Chester and Llandudno.

TransPennine Express to and from Preston via Manchester Piccadilly.

TransPennine Express bus replacement service to and from Stockport and Huddersfield.

Northern Trains stopping service via Manchester Piccadilly to Liverpool Lime Street, taking 80 minutes for the whole journey.

Liverpool John Lennon airport

Liverpool South Parkway has Merseyrail services via Liverpool Central to Southport. They are unaffected by the Aslef strike.

On Saturday only, West Midlands Trains will also run via Crewe and Stafford to Birmingham.

Newcastle airport

Served by the Tyne & Wear Metro, which is running normally. Onward connections by rail are possible on the East Coast main line to York, Edinburgh and London.

Inverness airport

Normal service.

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