Busy commuter services to be hit as train drivers’ strike continues

A commuter looks at signs at a closed railway station (PA)
A commuter looks at signs at a closed railway station (PA) A commuter looks at signs at a closed railway station (PA)

Some of the busiest commuter rail routes in the country will have limited services or no trains at all on Wednesday because of more strikes by drivers in their long-running dispute over pay.

Members of the Aslef union at South Western Railway, Southern, Southeastern, Gatwick Express and the Isle of Wight’s Island Line will walk out for 24 hours in the latest in a series of stoppages this week which are causing travel chaos.

Aslef says its members are determined to continue taking industrial action until they receive an improved pay offer on one made earlier this year of 8% over two years.

UK strikes in December & January
UK strikes in December & January (PA Graphics)

Train operators and the Government are urging Aslef to put the offer to a ballot, but the union points out that its members have regularly voted to continue taking strike action.

General secretary Mick Whelan said the message he is receiving is that train drivers are solidly behind the campaign and want to go “further and faster” to try to break the deadlock.

South Western Railway said an “extremely limited” service will operate on a small number of lines, between 7am and 7pm on Wednesday, with most of the network closed.

Services will only run on routes including London Waterloo to Basingstoke, Woking, Guildford and Feltham, and Basingstoke to Salisbury.

There will be no services to stations including Bournemouth, Exeter, Portsmouth, Reading, Southampton, Staines, Windsor and Yeovil, or on the Island Line.

The usual non-stop Gatwick Express service between London Victoria, Gatwick Airport and Brighton will not operate.

A limited Southern shuttle service will run, calling at Gatwick Airport and London Victoria only. No other Southern services will be running on Wednesday.

Southeastern said none of its trains will run.

Strikes will be held at CrossCountry and Great Western Railway on Thursday and on TransPennine and Northern Trains on Friday.

Aslef members are also refusing to work overtime this week as part of the dispute, which is also leading to cancellations and delays.