Thursday, September 21News For London

Southern Rail strikes: everything you need to know

LATEST UPDATE: “Customers are advised that stations will be incredibly busy”

From tomorrow onwards, there will be several reductions on Southern Rail services, as well as those on London underground and overground which are expected to be busier due to the strike.

From 13-16 December, passengers will experience “no Southern Rail service” and were told to expect decreased train services on the Circle and Hammersmith, City, and Piccadilly lines.  The company has advised passengers to avoid travelling at peak times and pan journeys in advanced.

During the first three days of the strikes, passengers have experienced massive and according to BBC report, only 50% of the Southern services were available for service.

Southern has reported that the former planned date for the strike on 22-24 December is brought forward to the 19 -20 December.

 

The Southern director Alex Foulds tells the BBC: “Customers are advised that station will be incredibly busy” therefore “If passengers can make alternative travel arrangements they should, if they don’t have to travel they shouldn’t.”

TFL graduate Dr.Simon Abernethy gave his insights:

 

https://soundcloud.com/nayh-m-rmol/southern-rail-expert-voice

WHAT TO EXPECT: 

Passenger are to expect delays, disruptions, cancellations and even increased fares due to the strikes. Southern Railways and London Underground will be “jam-packed” for almost over the course of one month:

00:01: Tuesday 13 December to 23:59 Wednesday 14 December (Aslef)

00:01 Friday 16 December to 23:59: Friday 16 December (Aslef)

00:01 Monday 19 December to 23:59 Tuesday 20 December (RMT)

00:01 Saturday 31 December to 23:59 Monday 2 January (RMT)

00:01 Monday 9 January to 23:59: Saturday 14 January (Aslef)

A member of the RMT Unions explained about the reasons for their strike:

Affected customers at London’s Victoria station expressed their feelings and concerns regarding the strikes. They told Westminster World their personal experiences having dealt with the cancellations and delays:

According to a ASLEF press release, the general secretary Mick Cash has stated: “the massive vote for action is a clear expression and evidence of how frustrated the members of the RMT are over the danger of their role, jobs as well as the safety of Southern services”.

ALTERNATIVE ROUTES: 

Commuters are expected “severe and significant” travel chaos this Tuesday up until Thursday 8 December due to a wave of Southern Rail strike.

RMT members on London Underground’s Piccadilly, Hammersmith and City and Circle Lines will protest for 24 hours at changes to the role of conductors.

Subsequently, Piccadilly line trains will be of no service, while Hammersmith and City and Circle train services will be reduced; cancellations are also expected.

On Southern, although there will no trains at all, other train companies will be served. They are:

  • Clapham Junction to Milton Keynes via Kensington Olympia
  • London Bridge and Beckenham Junction via Tulse Hill and Crystal Palace
  • Leatherhead to Guildford
  • Oxted to Uckfield
  • Wivelsfield to Lewes
  • Preston Park to Hove
  • Wivelsfield to Lewes (via Plumpton)
  • Eastbourne to Hastings and Ashford International
  • Chichester to Portsmouth Harbour and Southampton Central
  • Between Lewes and Seaford

No trains will go to Earlswood, Salfords and Faygate stations

Limited services will run on routes:

  • London Bridge – East Grinstead:
  • London Victoria – Chichester (via Three Bridges)
  • Brighton – Bognor Regis
  • Brighton – Eastbourne:
  • Redhill to Tonbridge
  • Uckfield – London Bridge
  • Between Dorking and Horsham

Thameslink services are expected to run normally, except to Coulsdon South, Merstham, Horley and Redhill, which will be limited, and none will call at closed stations.

Buses only will operate:

  • Between Ashford and Hastings
  • Between Lewes and Seaford
  • Between Uckfield/Buxted/Crowborough/Eridge and Tunbridge Wells/Haywards Heath at peak times
  • Between Hastings and Eastbourne
  • Between Chichester and Havant

WHAT ARE PASSENGERS’ REACTIONS:

 

SADIQ KHAN: “IT IS A TOTAL DISGRACE”

London mayor called the Southern Rail ‘a total disgrace’ and urged unions to cancel next’s week strikes as commuters are affected by the chaos.

Sadiq Khan also accused the government for “washing their hands of the crisis” and “abandoning passengers” on Southern rail as hundreds of thousands of commuters are experiencing the impact of the on-going overtime ban by hundreds of train drivers.

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He said: “The ongoing chaos on Southern rail services is a total disgrace that is badly failing commuters who just want to get to work and back. The unions should cancel the strikes and get back around the negotiating table, but the government are washing their hands of this crisis and abandoning commuters in the process.”

The mayor compared the Southern rail strike with Transport for London (TFL). He indicated the days lost during strikes on the TFL underground network had fallen down 92% since his election and the approach is “clearly working”.

He said that Southern rail lines including Southern, Southeastern, and South West Trains should be devolved to TFL.

 

CALLING FOR GRAYLING’S RESIGNATION

The Senior Conservative Tory Bob Neil wants Transport Secretary Chris Grayling to resign as he lied to Member of Parliaments about who should run the rail services.

It is reported that Chris Grayling has rejected calls for control of suburban rail services that are suffering of delays of even cancelled trains as well as strikes.

Bob Neill the senior conservative states that a leaked letter exposed Chris Grayling actions were out of spite and for party political intentions. Grayling believes that the reason for Transport of London has not done well in business for the handover.

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The disclosure prompted Mr Neill, MP for Bromley and Chislehurst and a former leader of the Tory group on the London Assembly, to demand his resignation or sacking by Theresa May.

Senior Tory MP has called for Chris Grayling to resign or be sacked, claiming the Transport Secretary lied to MPs about who should run rail services. He further states that sacking the Transport Secretary brings “no pleasure” but “He has not been frank and I think a minister in that situation has to resign.”

The general secretary of ASLEF, Mick Whelan expressed the same opinion on a press release: “It is ironic that Mr Grayling, who tried to mislead passengers earlier this week by claiming that our proposed industrial action on Southern Railways is political, when it is an industrial dispute, about safety, has been caught red-handed, with his fingers in the till, acting entirely for political reasons.

[…] This lie – putting narrow party advantage ahead of the interests of the travelling public – shows he is manifestly unfit for public office. If he won’t do the decent thing and resign Theresa May should sack him.”

 

5 THINGS YOU WONDER: 

Despite several attempts by Westminster World to conduct interviews, authorities involved have refused to comment. Here is the collections of quotes and answers gave by Southern Rail, Department for Transport, and Mick Cash on other mainstream media: