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  1. Live updates have now ended
  2. Updates on Tuesday 13 December 2016

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Southern rail service

A long-running dispute over the role of conductors on the Southern rail network has resulted in a series of strikes. Just how bad have the operator's commuter services become?

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Goodnight from your local live team

Stuart Maisner

BBC Live reporter

That's all from our Southern strike live page for today. We're back at 06:00 GMT with all the latest on day two of the strike, plus the Acas talks.

You can get in touch on Twitter, on Facebook or by sending us an email, with your stories and views of the strike. 

Southern rail strike: Disabled passenger details journey to London
Cori Burns, who uses a mobility scooter, has recorded a video of her train journey from Hastings to Euston during a Southern rail strike.

Commuter: 'I am sick of being a pawn in someone else's game'

Jacqui writes:

I have endured months of struggling to and from London to work as a violinist, frequently twice a day. I have had to cancel lessons and the annual Christmas Concert for my students because I cannot practically travel to Caterham, my home.

I am out of energy and my mental reserves are exhausted. I don't care who is 'right' or 'wrong' here. All the factions need to talk and stop trying to shirk responsibility.

Southern rail strike: Herbert v Whelan

Nick Herbert MP and Aslef's Mick Whelan on the strikes affecting Southern Rail services.
Conservative MP and Aslef's Mick Whelan on the strikes affecting Southern Rail services as union members walked out for 48 hours at midnight, with a further 24-hour strike set for Friday.

The general secretary of the train drivers' union said the dispute was not about money but "purely about safety" while the MP, whose Sussex seat is served by Southern said "if these trains were unsafe, they wouldn't be allowed to be run".

They spoke to Daily Politics presenter Jo Coburn, and guest Margaret Beckett, about the ongoing disruption to services between London Victoria station and the southern counties of England.
Southern Rail commuters

Four Southern Rail passengers video blog their mornings during the strike action.

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Southern strike in numbers

Stuart Maisner

BBC Live reporter

What impact will the latest Southern strike have on services and passengers?  

Driver: 'It's not just rail commuters'

Gerry writes:

It's not just the poor long-suffering rail commuters being affected by this dispute. Strike days mean that rail users are taking to their cars in order to get to work.

My usual drive to work is 45 minutes. This morning, despite leaving earlier, my journey took two hours. The already congested roads are being severely affected as a result of this rail chaos.

Commuter: 'Not a month without strikes'

Holly writes:

I have been commuting since July of this year with Southern. Since I started I have not experienced a month without strikes. But the strikes every week throughout December are what has made this situation unbearable. It's got to the point where I am considering job opportunities elsewhere.

Each day I arrive late for work and have to apologise again for my tardiness. I cannot afford to move to London where I work.

New cyclist: 'A heartfelt thank you to Southern and the unions'

Dan writes:

I actually want to thank both Southern and the RMT/ASLEF. I live in East Dulwich. We have enjoyed as many as six services per hour during rush hour since we moved in 2000. Now we might as well have none it's so unpredictable.

Instead I've bought a folding bike and it's fantastic. I can no get into town reliably and I'm never late back for childcare handover. I'm fitter than I've ever been, I've lost weight and I feel I know London better. I'm just happier.

So, I've turned my back on Southern, I think permanently. Still, the good news for Southern and the unions is that every single one of their other potential customers relies on them 100% so they can carry on messing around like this and they'll all come back to them when they've finished their fun and games.

Passengers at London Victoria railway station

Rail bosses and union chiefs agree to hold talks in a bid to resolve the long-running Southern rail dispute.

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When are the Southern strikes taking place?

Here's a helpful graphic to show when the Southern strikes are taking place over the next month.  

Southern strike: What's it all about?

Richard Westcott

Transport correspondent

In a nutshell, the Southern strike is about safety, jobs and politics.

On safety, Southern wants to bring in something called driver-only-operated (DOO) trains where the driver, rather than the conductor, opens and closes the doors. Unions say the on-board conductor/guard has a much better view of the doors and can stop people getting trapped. 


Southern has guaranteed that no-one will lose their job, or take a pay cut. The second person will now be free to help passengers, they say.

Then there’s the politics. Ministers are paying Southern's parent company, GTR, to run services, while the government collects the fare money. So the cost of all the strikes and disruption is picked up by the government, not the train firm. 


Whatever happens here will be reflected in future franchises as they take delivery of new driver-only operated trains.

Right now, I really can't see how this dispute will end. No-one's budging on the critical issue. No-one's even talking.

Southern rail strike sign

Alex Kleiderman

BBC News

Rail bosses have agreed to hold formal talks with unions in a bid to resolve the ongoing Southern rail dispute. But how have rail strikes in the past ended?

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'If there's more automation, they have less power in the future'

Bob Dale

BBC Live reporter

One MP, whose constituency includes thousands of commuters, believes the strike is politically motivated.

My house sale has fallen through due to the rail strikes'

Kathryn Langley

BBC Live reporter

Ray Chapman put his house on the market so he could move nearer work but as he explains, it's not quite gone to plan.

Commuters vlog journeys of chaos

Southern Rail commuters

Four Southern Rail passengers video blog their mornings during the strike action.

Southern Rail commuters

Commuters vlog journeys of chaos

Four Southern Rail passengers video blog their mornings during the strike action.

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Southern: 'It's a failing operation'

Kathryn Langley

BBC Live reporter

This commuter at London Bridge places the blame for the strikes squarely at Southern's door.

MP: 'I'm totally despairing'

Kathryn Langley

BBC Live reporter

Peter Kyle MP
Labour Party

The Labour MP for Hove and Portslade has spoken of his "despair" after thousands of people were left stranded during the latest Southern strikes.

In an extended Facebook post Peter Kyle says he's "boiling with fury" at the situation.

I feel heartbroken for passengers affected. Each week I read many hundreds of messages and speak directly to dozens of people affected. I've spoken to people who have lost their jobs or given up their jobs, and who's businesses have suffered. I've heard from people who are on medication due to the distress of travelling on overcrowded and late running trains, and I've spoken to a man who was traumatised by the sight of another passenger having a breakdown by a platform edge. And then there's the anger, raw and unmitigated, of people being treated in utterly inhumane ways by an uncaring, unapologetic, and inaccessible rail network.

Please believe me when I say how sorry I am that you have to endure this, I am doing everything I can and I won't give up."

Peter Kyle MP(Lab) Hove and Portslade
southern rail train

A rail union boss says getting drivers to control train doors is less safe. Has it resulted in more injuries?

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BreakingRMT to attend rail talks

Stuart Maisner

BBC Live reporter

The RMT union has confirmed it will be attending talks at Acas tomorrow with Southern Rail and Aslef to try to end the protracted dispute.

'It's just intolerable'

Kathryn Langley

BBC Live reporter

These commuters told us they're at the end of their tether when it comes to trains into London.

Aslef: 'This is about the safety of the public'

Kathryn Langley

BBC Live reporter

As Govia Thameslink Railway confirms talks will take place with Aslef tomorrow, the drivers' union maintains the dispute is all about safety.

'Let's talk this through'

Bob Dale

BBC Live reporter

As fresh talks at the conciliation service Acas are announced for tomorrow, rail operator Southern says it remains committed to introducing driver-operated only trains.

BreakingSouthern bosses welcome fresh talks

Bob Dale

BBC Live reporter

Southern's parent company confirms talks will take place with the union Aslef at the conciliation service Acas tomorrow.

We reached out to Aslef as we said we would and now welcome the opportunity to discuss a way forward with them tomorrow. The travelling public are suffering misery and inconvenience and the impact on the regional economy is significant. We assure everyone we are committed to trying to find a solution to the union's dispute."

Charles HortonCEO, Govia Thameslink Railway

Nurse: 'The effect of being late for work is immense for my patients'

Stella writes:

I returned to Redhill in September after four years in Oman. I am a practice nurse in a GP surgery in Brixton. I have patients booked in from 8am every 15 minutes. The knock-on effect of being late for work is immense for my patients.

I have started getting up at 04:30 to get the 05:48 train. This means that if the trains are on time I am an hour early but I can't cope with the stress of being late. My new employers have been wonderfully sympathetic but I fear that their patience will run out.

BreakingAcas talks to be held tomorrow

Bob Dale

BBC Live reporter

Aslef says talks aimed at resolving the dispute will be held at the conciliation service Acas on Wednesday.

PM ROUND UP: A morning of misery for Southern rail customers

Claire Cottingham

BBC Live reporter

Rail passengers have been hit by travel chaos as striking train drivers bring the Southern network to a halt.

Members of the Aslef union walked out for 48 hours at midnight. A further 24-hour strike is set for Friday.

Here's a look at what's been happening today.

Southern rail strike: 'I'm trying to work from home'
Commuter Doug Craib says he has been forced to work from home as Southern Rail network stops all services
Passengers at London Victoria queue for an express train to Gatwick Airport

Rail passengers endure travel chaos as striking train drivers bring the Southern network to a halt.

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'You have to make a stand'

Kathryn Langley

BBC Live reporter

This commuter at Brighton says he's been affected by the train strike chaos but is backing the unions all the way.

Your tweets: 'My life is on hold'

Bob Dale

BBC Live reporter

More of your tweets on today's strike by Southern Rail drivers.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter
View more on twitter

@bbcsoutheast until there are consequences to @SouthernRailUK or @ASLEFunion for striking the public will be pawns in a political battle

Mayor of London: 'You deserve better'

Kathryn Langley

BBC Live reporter

Sadiq Khan has repeated his offer to put Transport for London in control of Southern. The London Mayor says passengers have been let down by the government.

Southern strike: 'I think it's time to make these strikes unlawful'

Helen Catt

Political editor, BBC South East

As Southern Rail advises passengers not to travel at all today, one Sussex MP, who's also a commuter, is calling for a change in the law.

Southern strike: A lowdown of the morning

Claire Cottingham

BBC Live reporter

Passengers woke up to a day of misery and disappointment as striking train drivers brought the Southern network to a halt.

Members of the Aslef union walked out for 48 hours at midnight. A further 24-hour strike is set for Friday causing chaos on the build up to Christmas. 

Here's what's happened so far today.

Commuter: 'The rail problems have cost me a third of my income'

Chris writes:

I had no choice but to find a local job, which has cost me a third of my income and I am the main earner. I was fed up of tip toeing around my employer, was continuously missing nursery pick up and it caused me a huge amount of stress not knowing if I'd get home.

I am fed up of saying enough is enough because nothing has changed. If anything it has got worse since I quit my job three months ago.

Southern rail strikes: Commuters' tales of 'hell'

Amanda Akass

BBC Live reporter

The first strike on the Southern Rail network began back in April. But how are commuters bearing up under the stress and strain?  

We've spoken to a man who left his job, a woman she says she's missing out on seeing her baby daughter and a woman who is going on maternity leave earlier than planned - all because of the strikes. 

You can read our feature here.

Commuters waiting at a train station

'Sorry Lee, there's the door'

Bob Dale

BBC Live reporter

Lee Lockwood fears his new job in Brighton is at risk, because there isn't a reliable train service from his home in Eastbourne.

Streatham mother: 'I am feeling increasingly isolated'

Jessica writes:

I am a mother with two small children. I moved from Clapham to Streatham [both in London] two years ago and when I first moved the train service was far better than it is today. I could frequently travel back to see friends.

However now I am feeling increasingly isolated as I am unable to travel at all due to continued striking. Even when staff aren't striking they say that they have unavailable members of train crew and cancel trains at the last minute. On numerous occasions I have waited at the platform for up to an hour before giving up and getting a taxi."