How Do The Rail Strikes Affect Students?
yellow and black train on railways
Photo by Ankush Minda on Unsplash

How Do The Rail Strikes Affect Students?

Jasmyne Jeffery December 13, 2022

Over the next week or so thousands of students will be travelling home for the holidays. However, strikes will disrupt any Christmas travel plans. We look at how the rail strikes affect students and the December/January dates for the strikes.

With the end of the autumn term wrapping up, many students will be planning on returning home for the Christmas break. However, that may be trickier than in previous years due to multiple rail strikes in December. If you plan to travel by train, here are the rail strikes to check if they affect you.

How Do The Rail Strikes Affect Students?

Although some universities have already broken up for their Christmas break, lots will be finishing in the next week. Cardiff, Bristol and Birmingham for example finish this first semester this Friday (December 16). However, differing student timetables mean that students will be finishing at various points in the next week.

If you’re hoping to head home this week or have some downtime before heading into the madness, you’ll want to take the rail strikes into consideration if you’re travelling by train. It’s not just going home that might be an issue either. Planned strikes in January might affect students travelling back to university too, particularly if you have exams early on in the next term.

When Are The December and January Rail Strike Dates?

Here are the following dates that there will be serious disruption to the trains. If you were thinking about travelling on one of them, you may want to change your plans.

Rail workers are staging numerous 48-hour strikes in a debate over pay, jobs and working conditions. Only earlier this week more strike dates were announced.


  • Tuesday, December 13 (Today)
  • Wednesday, December 14
  • Friday, December 16
  • Saturday, December 17

Workers will also be walking out from 6 pm on Christmas Eve until 7 am on December 27. Very few trains run on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, so the real disruption is definitely in the lead-up to Christmas. With so many students heading home this week and at the weekend, thousands will have to delay their plans to see their families.

Photo by Alexander Grey on Unsplash

For those returning in the new year, the January rail strikes will be on the following days:


  • Tuesday, January 3
  • Wednesday, January 4
  • Friday, January 6
  • Saturday, January 7

University start dates for the second term mostly begin on the week starting January 9, meaning students planning on returning to university in the week before will need to work around the multiple strikes to get back in time.

Students Are Frustrated At The Strikes

Students annoyed by the disruption have spoken to the BBC about how the strikes are affecting their plans to see their families.

Huw, a student at Swansea University, will be travelling back to Bangor:

“It’s very problematic, to be honest. It makes it really difficult for me to schedule everything.”

Having had problems before, Huw has had to make a new nine-hour bus journey to return home in previous years.

Katie, a student at Wrexham, spoke about the added stress to what is already a tense time for students:

“It’s adding stress to this time of year because I’ve got lots of work that I need to do and I am trying to get as much work done before Christmas as possible so it just adds to all that.”

Students are missing out on celebrating with friends and enjoying university Christmas events because of either going home even earlier or cramming in work so it’s not disrupted.

Ensure you are planning ahead if you are travelling by train this holiday season.

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Jasmyne Jeffery is a full-time Entertainment and News Writer on university-themed website Freshered and HITC, and joined the company having previously worked in a freelance role. She attended the University of South Wales where she was also a student blogger and graduated in 2022 with a first-class honours degree in English and Creative Writing. Now, she puts her creativity to use reviewing university bars, Love Island episodes and the latest apps any 18-25-year-old is using.