Train drivers stage third strike in four days sparking south England travel chaos

Rail passengers on major routes in south and east England, including commuter lines into London, can expect disruption today as train drivers stage the third strike in four days of action.

The walkout by the Aslef union has brought some of England’s busiest routes to a standstill as the long-running dispute over driver pay continues.

Monday’s disruption is mainly concentrated in East Anglia and the South East, but the impact has spread to those commuting into London. Services on Tuesday may also be disrupted.

The strike is affecting c2c, Gatwick Express, Greater Anglia, Southeastern, Southern, South Western Railway, Great Northern and Thameslink. Many services do not have alternative buses running.

Great Northern, c2c, and the Gatwick Express are fully out of operation on Monday.

Southern will only have limited shuttle service running non-stop between London Victoria and Gatwick Airport.

Thameslink will only have limited shuttle service calling at Luton, Luton Airport Parkway and London St Pancras, and another limited non-stop shuttle service between London Kings Cross and Cambridge.

Southeastern will have very limited service and advised riders not to travel. Only 29 out of 165 Southeastern stations will be open, and no rail replacement buses will serve stations that are closed.

Greater Anglia will only have an hourly train service on the following routes: Norwich/Colchester and London Liverpool Street; Southend Victoria and London Liverpool Street; Stansted Airport and London Liverpool Street. A bi-hourly train service will run between Cambridge and London.

South Western Railway will only operate on a small number of lines between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Rail passengers have been advised to plan ahead, and warned that there would be little to no service.

“Trains that are running will be extremely busy, they start later and finish early. You may be unable to board trains at some stations, and we estimate that there could be queues for up to two hours due to the very limited service.

“Only 29 out of 165 Southeastern stations will be open. No rail replacement buses will serve stations that are closed.”

There is also a coinciding overtime ban in place at 16 train operators across England which will last through Tuesday.

Aslef’s pay dispute has lasted over two years, and there is still no resolution in sight. The union said the dispute have cost the industry more than £2bn.

Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan said train drivers had not received a raise in five years, and criticised the Government and rail companies for the lack of contact over the past year. Many drivers are picketing at stations across the UK.

“As we’ve seen from the 17 pay deals that we’ve done and the recent resolution on London Underground that when people come to the table there is a resolution, there is a way forward and we’re always willing to find one,” Mr Whelan said in a video statement on X.

It is the third strike in four days, with disruption to major operators across the country.

A London Underground strike had also been planned for Monday, but an agreement was reached on Thursday and the walkout was avoided.

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “Aslef is the only rail union continuing to strike, targeting passengers and preventing their own members from voting on the pay offer that remains on the table.

“Having resolved disputes with all other rail unions, the Transport Secretary and rail minister have ensured that a pay offer is on the table – taking train drivers’ average salaries from £60,000 up to £65,000.”

Rob Mullen, c2c managing director, said: “I’m really disappointed that an agreement with Aslef hasn’t been reached. The impact of this ongoing action is significant for our customers and colleagues. I’m hopeful that further meetings with the unions are productive and see progress made toward concluding this challenging time for the railway.”