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Southern warn passengers of ‘significant’ strike disruption

Southern passengers must prepare for ‘significant’ disruption today as a consequence of strikes by train conductors over the expansion of driver-operated only (DOO) trains, the company has warned.

Southern said: “If the strike takes place it will have a significant effect on Southern services on the whole of the day affected, with no service on many routes and only a limited service between approximately 07.30 and 18.00 on others.”

The strikes were changed from 12 and 13 May to this Friday, and then today, as part of a protracted dispute between Southern and the RMT, which has warned that DOO is a threat to passenger safety.

Govia Thameslink Railway, Southern’s parent company, said: “We remain open for talks but the union refuses to entertain the idea of our evolved conductor role and has encouraged members not to take part in the process.

“However, we are pressing ahead with our plans to evolve the conductor role and doing everything we can to ensure our staff are fully involved in the process.”

But RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Despite strenuous efforts from the union to get genuine and meaningful talks under way with Southern on the issues of jobs and safety, the company has point-blank refused and has instead resorted to a campaign of threats and intimidation against staff.”

Strikes on 26 and 27 April led to 700 trains being cancelled.

To mitigate overcrowding, Southern is introducing queuing systems at many stations and banning bicycles on board trains, but it warned that it still couldn’t guarantee that passengers will get to their destination.

It also said that services on Southern’s sister companies, Gatwick Express and Thameslink, will be overcrowded because of the strikes and Gatwick Express trains will be able to call at some stations.

There will be no service on the following routes:

  • Clapham Junction to Milton Keynes via Kensington Olympia
  • Dorking to Horsham
  • Oxted to Uckfield
  • Haywards Heath to Lewes
  • Preston Park to Hove
  • Lewes to Seaford
  • Eastbourne to Ashford International via Hastings (Southeastern services will operate between St Leonards Warrior Square and Hastings as normal)
  • Chichester to Havant / Portsmouth Harbour and Southampton Central (South West Trains and Great Western Railway services will operate between Havant and Portsmouth Harbour / Southampton Central as normal)
  • Redhill to Tonbridge
  • Redhill to Reigate (Great Western Railway services will operate on this route as normal)

There will be a limited service on the following routes:

  • London Bridge - East Grinstead
  • Three Bridges - Chichester
  • Brighton - Bognor Regis
  • Brighton - Eastbourne
  • London Victoria - Three Bridges

A revised service will run from London to Brighton.

For full information about disruptions from the strikes, see the National Rail website.

(Image c. Dominic Lipinski from PA Images)

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