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Live Reporting

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  1. That's all for now

    Kathryn Langley

    BBC Live reporter

    Goodnight from your Southern strikes live team.

    We'll have more updates tomorrow and during Friday's planned strike action by members of the Aslef union.

    And if you're travelling on Southern services this week, we wish you well. 

  2. Talks will resume tomorrow

    Bob Dale

    BBC Live reporter

    Speaking as he left Acas headquarters, the leader of Aslef said Friday's strike was still on.

    Video content

    Video caption: Mick Whelan leaves Acas
  3. 'We're not interested in risk, we're interested in high standards'

    Bob Dale

    BBC Live reporter

    One of the unions in dispute with Southern has told the BBC that research by the industry body, the Rail and Safety Standards Board, doesn't support the widespread introduction of driver-only-operated trains.

    Video content

    Video caption: Mick Lynch of the RMT
  4. Govia Thameslink contract - how it differs from other rail franchises

    The contract given to Govia Thameslink Railway the parent company of Southern Railway, was set up differently to other rail franchises. 

    Here are some of the key questions about the deal:

    When was it signed?

    The seven year contract was awarded to GTR, a Go-Ahead Group company, in May 2014, with rival transport firm FirstGroup missing out.

    Services began four months later.

    What is included in the franchise?

    The deal involves running Thameslink, Southern, Great Northern and Gatwick Express services.

    It is the biggest franchise in the country in terms of passengers. Department for Transport officials have said it is unlikely that future contracts would have the same level of "challenge and complexity".

    Southern trains

    Why is this franchise different?

    It was set up as a management contract, with Govia receiving around £8.9bn from the DfT during the course of the contract to run the trains. In return, revenue from tickets sales, which were estimated to be worth £12.4bn, are passed directly to the Government.

    Why was this done?

    The DfT said it reflected the "scale and complexity" of planned upgrades to the network, such as the Thameslink Programme to boost north-south travel through London Bridge.

    It wanted the train operator to "focus on delivering these changes and managing their impact on customers".

    The department added that it was difficult to predict the amount of ticket revenue during and after the planned changes. 

    Southern train

    What is the impact of this?

    GTR's profit margin is dependant on the money it receives from the DfT, minus the cost of operating the trains. It has been claimed that although the company incurs some financial penalties when trains are cancelled, taxpayers face the majority of losses from the associated reduction in ticket sales.

    The Daily Telegraph reported that while GTR is saving around £1.1m in pay for train drivers and conductors on strike this week, the Government will suffer a £38m reduction in fare revenue.

    Will anything be done to change this?

    Ministers are under growing pressure to remove the franchise from GTR. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling told BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday that "there is a variety of things we need to think through", adding: "I am not ruling anything in or out."  

  5. PM urged to sack 'passive Transport Secretary'

    Kathryn Langley

    BBC Live reporter

    Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas has called for Chris Grayling to be sacked and Southern to lose its franchise. 

    Video content

    Video caption: Caroline Lucas calls for PM to sack Chris Grayling
  6. BreakingAcas talks to resume tomorrow

    Aslef says Acas talks with Southern are due to begin again at 10:30 GMT tomorrow.

  7. Breaking'Progress made' at talks, say union

    ASLEF union general secretary Mick Whelan says progress been made at Acas talks but that that the strike on Friday is still on.

  8. Will the PM help end this 'nonsense of a strike'?

    Claire Cottingham

    BBC Live reporter

    East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton has urged the Prime Minister Theresa May to do something effective to stop what he calls a 'nonsense strike'. 

    View more on twitter
  9. '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.  

    Video content

    Video caption: Commuter sells house to move nearer work
  10. BreakingWarnings of severe disruption tomorrow

    Stuart Maisner

    BBC Live reporter

    Passengers on Southern and Gatwick Express have been warned to expect services to be severely disrupted tomorrow following today’s drivers’ strike and Aslef's overtime ban for drivers.

    Southern passenger services director Angie Doll said: "We will be working hard to run as many services as possible tomorrow, but regrettably I have to warn passengers that services will be severely impacted, with reductions and cancellations across all routes.

     “With today’s strike ending at midnight, despite our best efforts, some trains and crew will still not be in position for tomorrow’s service, and the overtime ban will continue to have a serious impact."

    The train operator is advising passengers to check here before travelling.

    On Friday, when Aslef drivers will again be on strike, there will be no Southern services and Gatwick Express will run every half an hour, instead of every 15 minutes, while Thameslink will run a normal timetable. Passengers are again advised not to travel.  

  11. 'It's killing trade'

    Kathryn Langley

    BBC Live reporter

    Roberto Magno runs a barber shop at Horsham station. He's been telling us that fewer commuters means fewer customers.

    Video content

    Video caption: Horsham barber shop owner says he's struggling because of the strikes
  12. Sussex MP: 'End this nonsense of a strike'

    Bob Dale

    BBC Live reporter

    East Worthing and Shoreham MP, Tim Loughton, raised the Southern strike at Prime Minister's Questions, with the PM offering her solution to the dispute.

    Video content

    Video caption: the Southern Strike is raised at Prime Minister's Questions
  13. RMT leader: 'They've shown contempt for us as a trade union'

    Kathryn Langley

    BBC Live reporter

    Mick Cash, General Secretary of the RMT, says he's been barred from taking part in talks to try and resolve the Southern dispute.

    Read more here.

    Video content

    Video caption: Mick Cash says the RMT has been excluded from talks
  14. 'End this nonsense of a strike', urges Tim Loughton

    PMQs

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Conservative Tim Loughton tells MPs that Aslef drivers object to operating doors on the Southern rail line but will do the same thing on Thameslink trains.  

    He asks for an assurance everything will be done to end this"nonsense of a strike" and "give our constituents their livess back".

    Theresa May agrees that it is an "appalling strike" and suggests that Jeremy Corbyn should call Aslef, who donate to Labour MPs, and tell them to call the "strike off immediately". 

  15. Why is this dispute so difficult to crack?

    Helen Catt

    Political editor, BBC South East

    This dispute is a particularly tricky one to crack, not least because of the unique way the Southern franchise works.

    The Government pays Govia Thameslink billions of pounds to run Southern, but keeps all the money raised from tickets itself.

    It's an unusual arrangement which came about because disruption from engineering works at London Bridge posed a big financial risk to any train company taking on the Southern routes.

    What it also means is that the Government has significant influence on the contract and it is understood to be very keen to push through Driver Only Operation (DOO).

    Southern Train

    With the loss of revenue on tickets, thought to be £38m by the end of the year, borne by the taxpayer, Southern arguably has less incentive than other companies to end the strikes.

    And on the union side, they know their action can't stop the roll-out of DOO on Southern, which will actually be complete in a couple of weeks’ time.

    But they don't agree with it and really want it reversed, so there is no deadline after which their industrial action becomes redundant.

    Add this to the fact that the Government won't be in the room at Acas and it looks like it could be pretty tough to get a resolution.

  16. BreakingRMT leader 'barred from talks'

    Claire Cottingham

    BBC Live reporter

    RMT leader Mick Cash has been barred from taking part in talks on the Southern Railway dispute at Acas, the union said.

    Talks are underway to find a solution to the dispute.