The Abbey Line is set to be out-of-action for nine straight days for the second time in two months.

On January 15, the ASLEF union announced an overtime ban between Monday, January 29 and Tuesday, February 6, as well as full strike action for different operators on January 30, 31, and February 2, 3, and 5.

National Rail has said that on full strike days there will likely be “little or no services across large areas of the network” while an overtime ban is only expected to result in a reduced service on some lines and possible disruption.

Travel advice shared by London Northwestern Railway(LNR) paints a bleaker picture for Abbey Line commuters between Watford and St Albans.

Every train on the line will instead be served by rail replacement buses between January 29 and February 6, except for February 3 when there will be no buses at all. February 3 is the full strike day for London Northwestern Railway services and so no trains will run at all on the network.

It follows every train being replaced with buses during a previous round of industrial action between December 1 and 9.

The line’s commuter group Abfly had apparently tried to push to keep at least some services running.

Abfly member Kevin Ambrose said: “We are very disappointed that LNR have ignored our request that they should run peak hour services, at least, when the ASLEF overtime ban is operating.”

Even when it is meant to run, passengers have been increasingly disappointed with regular cancellations to the service and have once again demanded improvement and an apology to passengers.

“I don't recall a time when the reliability of the line has been so bad,” another Abfly member, Peter Brooks added. "We never had such a poor service from previous operators, Silverlink or London Midland."

West Midlands Trains, which runs London Northwestern Railway, said that it was making the changes to reduce its timetable in advance so that passengers can plan ahead.

Herts Advertiser: The Abbey Line.The Abbey Line.

The company said that, while the Abbey Line does not specifically directly rely on workers on overtime more than other services, it has to reduce some services when the ban is in place.

When services face disruption in normal times, train operators will use overtime workers to help it recover the timetable, but when this is not an option attempting to run a full timetable “would inevitably end up cancelling a large number of trains at very short notice”, a spokesperson explained.