Southern Rail has confirmed that none of its train services will run during next week's three-day ASLEF drivers' strike (10, 11 & 13 January).
But it has announced it is putting in place a number of alternative measures to try to help those commuters who have essential travel needs.
- The train operator is organising 200 coaches/buses each day to provide road links for essential travel from nine Southern stations (see below) into nearby neighbouring train networks where they can connect into other train operators' services. The fleet has been pulled from a wide range of bus and coach operators across the South East.
Southern advises that capacity on the buses will be limited and journey times will take much longer. Ticket acceptance on other operators’ transport has been put in place (full list on www.southernrailway.com).
It is also advising people to work from home or remotely if they can, stagger journeys if possible and to only travel if it is "essential" and allow plenty of extra time for journeys. Other measures include:
- Thameslink services will continue to operate throughout each day.
- The Gatwick Express will provide a reduced service every 30 minutes between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria.
- Coach operator National Express is laying on extra services from Brighton to London throughout the week (nationalexpress.com)
- Details of car share schemes are being made available to passengers on Southern's website.
Southern says that to ensure public safety, crowd control measures will be in operation at all its stations where trains or buses will operate.
Angie Doll, Southern's Passenger Service Director, said: "There will be significant disruption and hardship next week caused by these pointless and unnecessary strikes. With this package of measures, we are putting in place a very limited number of alternative options to help people with essential travel needs get where they need to be. Unfortunately, there is no practical way we could replace 2,000-plus trains we run each day with buses, but what we are doing is providing transport to link some passengers into other operators' stations where services are running normally.
"These buses will run from a small number of stations and space will be very limited, so we are asking those who don't need to travel, or who have a viable alternative, to leave the space for those who have no other option. Anyone who does travel should expect to queue, plan for longer journeys and realise the service they join will be exceptionally busy.
"We are massively grateful to all the operators who are helping us in our efforts to keep passengers moving. This strike is futile – drivers are now operating the doors on over 75% of our trains and our on-board supervisors have moved into their new roles. It is now time the union move on too, and join us in delivering a modern railway for everyone."
Buses will link:
- Oxted with Sevenoaks (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 for further details www.southernrailway.com/your-journey/strike/aslef-strike including how to claim strike compensation.