A renewed strike action on Southern rail leaves hundreds of thousands of commuters struggling to get to work. Further disruptions are to be expected on Wednesday through to Friday.

As drivers from the Aslef union started their second period of strike, almost all of Southern Rail’s trains were out of service on Tuesday. The long-running dispute has been about the role of guards at Southern Rail.

Cancellation of Trains

Southern had two early-morning trains from Brighton to Victoria, carrying a few Thameslink train passengers. However, all 2,242 other daily trains were cancelled. Southern owner Govia Thameslink Railway said alternative transportations such as buses, had a good uptake and that it had arranged connections with other train operators.

Given the disruptions, A GTS spokesman said: “We would like to thank passengers for their patience and understanding, and for heeding the advice to only travel if absolutely necessary.”

Next Step

Further strikes are to be expected from Wednesday through to Friday. Mick Whelan, general secretary of Aslef said: “We greatly regret the industrial action we have taken on Southern railway today. We don’t want to inconvenience passengers, nor do our members want to lose money, because we want to help build a better railway for Britain.

But we have been forced to go on strike by an intransigent management that has not been prepared to negotiate with us.

“Southern are bullies. Throughout this dispute, from when they first announced their intentions 10 months ago, they have tried to force through changes in the terms and conditions of staff by tearing up agreements rather than by negotiating.

“In contrast, we stick to deals we have made and have always been willing to negotiate when someone shows goodwill; that is how we managed to strike a deal last year with ScotRail which works well for the company, the passengers and the staff. So it can be done.”