Sussex travel: Warning of major disruption to railway line with two day RMT strike planned

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RMT members of Network Rail and UK train operators are on strike on Thursday (August 18) and Saturday (August 20).

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), which operates Southern, Gatwick Express and Thameslink services, has warned trains will start late (7.30am or later) and finish earlier (4.30pm to 6.30pm), with no further travel available.

People are asked to travel only “if your trip is absolutely necessary”. They are also asked to delay their trip until later in the morning after the scheduled strike days.

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RMT members of Network Rail and UK train operators are on strike on Thursday (August 18) and Saturday (August 20).

People have been warned ‘very few trains will be running’, with no service on ‘many lines south of London’.

A crowd is expected, “especially on the first and last trains”.

A GTR spokesperson said: ‘We advise that you only travel if absolutely necessary and expect serious disruption.

Flaggers on strike at Network Rail will have ‘the biggest impact on service’, leading GTR to ‘focus on providing service only on its busiest mainline routes’. Photo: Govia Thameslink Railway

“The railway will operate at limited opening hours with services starting later than normal and ending in the late afternoon.

“Please check your first and last trains carefully, as there will be no alternative travel outside of these services.”

On both strike days, two trains will run per hour between London Victoria and Brighton, calling at London Victoria, Clapham Junction, East Croydon, Gatwick Airport and Brighton only.

Two trains per hour will run between London Bridge and Brighton, calling at London Bridge, East Croydon, Gatwick Airport, Three Bridges, Balcombe, Haywards Heath, Wivelsfield, Burgess Hill, Hassocks, Preston Park and Brighton only.

Two trains per hour will run between London Bridge and Gatwick Airport, with stops at London Bridge, Norwood Junction, East Croydon, Redhill, Earlswood, Salfords, Horley and Gatwick Airport only.

Two trains per hour will run between London Bridge and Three Bridges, calling at London Bridge, Norwood Junction, East Croydon, Coulsdon South, Merstham, Redhill, Horley, Gatwick Airport and Three Bridges only.

Two trains per hour will run between Brighton and Hove only.

Gatwick Express will also not operate, although the airport has a ‘limited southern and Thames service’.

A spokesperson added: “Services will also start later in the morning after each strike, with a modified Sunday service taking place on Friday August 19.

“Morning trains are likely to be very busy. Customers are recommended to travel later, plan their journeys and check again before travelling.”

GTR said it has been in contact with local stakeholders, including hospitals, to inform them of the impact of the RMT strike.

Angie Doll, Chief Operating Officer of GTR, said: “We are very sorry that our strong advice to passengers is to travel by train only when absolutely necessary on Thursday August 18 and Saturday August 20.

“The strike by RMT members means rail services across the country will once again be severely restricted, with many routes not running at all.

“Services for the whole period between August 18 and 21 will also start much later in the morning than usual, so please travel later in the day if you can.

“The first trains will be extremely busy so you may not be able to board. Trains on strike days will also end as early as 4.30pm, so please plan ahead if you absolutely must travel on these days.

“We are so disappointed that the rail disruptions due to the strikes are once again affecting our passengers. We urge the RMT to work with industry and find a solution.

Flaggers on strike at Network Rail will have ‘the biggest impact on service’, leading GTR to ‘focus on providing service only on its busiest mainline routes’.

Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines said: “It saddens me that we have to again ask passengers to stay off the rail for two days next week due to an unnecessary strike, so that we should help them enjoy their summers.

“We will be running as many services as possible next Thursday and Saturday, but it will only be about a fifth of the usual schedule, so please only travel if absolutely necessary and if you must travel, plan ahead and check when your last train will be.”

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