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Southern passengers urged to travel only if vital during drivers’ strikes

PUBLISHED: 09:12 09 January 2017

Picture: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

Picture: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

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Southern Railway passengers are being reminded to travel only if it is essential during a series of strikes this week by drivers.

No Southern services will run on Tuesday, Wednesday or Friday because of walkouts by members of Aslef in a long-running dispute concerning driver-only trains.

Services on other days will be affected by a continuing ban on overtime.

With only limited bus links from a small number of stations, the train company is advising people to make alternative arrangements wherever possible.

For those who have no option, Southern is providing limited bus and coach services 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.

Space on the buses will be limited. Anyone who does travel should expect to queue, plan for longer journeys and realise the service they join will be exceptionally busy, said Southern.

The company also advised people to work from home or remotely if they can, and to stagger journeys if they can’t.

As well as the three days of strikes, Southern and Gatwick Express services will be severely disrupted every day until further notice due to the overtime ban.

Other measures include:

•Thameslink services continuing to operate throughout each day;

•The Gatwick Express providing a reduced service every 30 minutes between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria;

•Coach operator National Express laying on extra services from Brighton to London throughout the week;

•Details of car share schemes being made available to passengers on Southern’s website. To ensure public safety, crowd control measures will be in operation at all Southern stations where trains or buses will operate.

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.

“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.”

Aslef is opposed to driver-only trains on safety grounds, while the Rail, Maritime and Transport union is embroiled in a separate dispute over the role of conductors.

Southern announced that buses will link Oxted with Sevenoaks (to connect with Southeastern), Uckfield with Tunbridge Wells via Crowborough (connect to Southeastern), Eastbourne with Hastings (connect with Southeastern), Bexhill to Hastings (connect with Southeastern), Horsham to Dorking (connect with South West Trains), Hastings to Ashford calling all stations (connect to Southeastern), Chichester to Havant (connect with South West Trains), Seaford to Lewes calling all stations (local service, no onward connection), East Grinstead to Gatwick (connect to Gatwick Express).

Passengers are advised to check the Southern website www.southernrailway.com/your-journey/strike/aslef-strike for further details including how to claim strike compensation.

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