Travel advice issued ahead of three day train driver's strike

Passengers are warned to travel by train '˜only if essential' during three days of strikes by ASLEF drivers planned this week, said a spokesperson from Govia Thameslink Railway.

Drivers from the train driver’s union ASLEF will take strike action on Tuesday 10, Wednesday 11 and Friday 13.

The train operator spokesperson warns that no Southern services will run on these days.

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People are advised, wherever possible, to make alternative arrangements, the spokesperson said.

For those who have no option, Southern is providing limited bus and coach each day to provide road links for essential travel from nine of its stations into nearby neighbouring train networks, where they can connect into other train operators’ services (see below for full list).

However, the spokesperson said that space on the buses will be limited and anyone who does travel should expect to queue, plan for longer journeys and realise the service they join will be exceptionally busy.

Southern train tickets will also be accepted by other operators’ transport, according to the spokesperson.

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People are advised to to work from home or remotely if they can, and to stagger journeys if they cannot, the spokesperson said, adding that Southern and Gatwick Express services will be severely disrupted every day until further notice due to the continued ASLEF overtime ban.

Thameslink services will continue to operate throughout each day of the strikes and the Gatwick Express will provide a reduced service every 30 minutes between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria, the spokesperson said.

Coach operator National Express is laying on extra services from Brighton to London throughout the week, according to the spokesperson, and details of car share schemes are being made available to passengers on Southern’s website.

To ensure public safety, crowd control measures will be in operation at all its stations where trains or buses will operate, the spokesperson said.

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Angie Doll, Southern’s Passenger Service Director, said: “Once again we wish to remind our passengers not to attempt to travel unless it is absolutely necessary on this week’s strike days.

“There will also be significant disruption and hardship on the days ASLEF is not on strike because of their overtime ban, especially on Thursday when trains will be out of position because of the strikes on each day either side.

“We are deeply sorry for the unnecessary and unwarranted disruption this dispute is causing.

“The unions’ response is utterly disproportionate, causing misery to 300,000 passengers a day across the South East and untold damage to the regional economy.

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“This dispute is pointless. The unions claim this is about safety, but Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Railways has carried out a thorough and robust review and has ruled what we are doing is safe.
“It is now time the union stopped abusing their power to call unjustified strikes and join us in delivering a modern railway for everyone.”

Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, said: “We are taking a longer-term view of this trade dispute.

“The company has not been prepared to move – it is simply going through the motions, turning up at ACAS, as it did [on January 3], and telling us that it intends to impose DOO (Driver Only Operation).

“We remain committed to a negotiated settlement, as was reached with ScotRail, but it is difficult to negotiate with people who are not prepared to be flexible.

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“We still believe a deal can be done but we are, at the moment, a long way from that position.

“It is time for the company to come up with a genuine offer rather than carry on posturing.”

Buses will link:

Oxted with Sevenoaks (to connect with Southeastern)

Uckfield with Tunbridge Wells via Crowborough (to connect to Southeastern)

Eastbourne with Hastings (to connect with Southeastern)

Bexhill to Hastings (to connect with Southeastern) Horsham to Dorking (to connect with South West Trains)

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Hastings to Ashford calling all stations (to connect to Southeastern)

Chichester to Havant (to connect with South West Trains)

Seaford to Lewes calling all stations (local service, no onward connection)

East Grinstead to Gatwick (to connect to Gatwick Express)

Passengers are advised to including how to claim strike compensation.

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