England

Southern rail: Train drivers' strike enters second day

  • 11 January 2017
  • From the section England
Purley station Image copyright @tomomi_echigo
Image caption This was the scene at Purley station in London earlier

The latest strike by Southern train drivers has entered a second day.

The latest walkout finishes at midnight but further strikes have been called for Friday and on 24, 25 and 27 January.

Aslef said its action had "solid" support from its members, and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he would join the union's picket line.

Southern said it would not back down and was "very sorry" passengers faced continued disruption.

The rail company said only peak trains between Caterham and London Victoria are running. It normally runs 2,242 weekday trains across its network.

Live updates: Southern strike and Sussex news

Image copyright @croydontraingal
Image caption Passengers have reported overcrowding at West Croydon station
Image copyright @BeccaBoo_88
Image caption Several people have tweeted saying commuters are spilling out into the street.

The long-running dispute centres on Southern's decision to turn guards into supervisors. In this role they would no longer be responsible for opening and closing carriage doors - this duty would become the responsibility of the driver.

Southern mainly serves Sussex, Surrey and south London. It issued a map of its rail replacement bus links.

Gatwick Express has a reduced half-hourly service and there is a normal timetable for Thameslink, Great Western, Southeastern and South West Trains.

Image copyright Southern
Image caption Southern released a map of alternative services

The unions and Southern's parent company Govia Thameslink (GTR) said no new negotiations were planned.

GTR said three-quarters of its Southern services were now driver-controlled with conductors converted into "on-board supervisors".

Its chief operating officer Nick Brown said the change would not be reversed.

"There is very substantial investment going into this network. We are introducing new trains to modernise the railway," Mr Brown said.

Image caption Southern provided buses from East Grinstead to Gatwick

But Aslef leader Mick Whelan said supervisors would be less skilled.

He said: "Who is going to deal with the evacuation in an emergency, a fire on a train, sick people on a train or leading people down the track?

"Will it be down to the driver on trains which are 12 cars long with 1,100 people in the peaks? That's untenable."

Speaking on BBC Radio 4, Mr Corbyn said he believed Southern had "behaved in a terrible manner" and called on the government to take GTR's franchise back into public ownership.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: "The government is engaged day in, day out trying to get this issue resolved and will carry on doing that."

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