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Southern to restore full rail service from Tuesday

Credit: PA

Southern Rail has announced it is to restore its full train service from next Tuesday after the drivers' union ASLEF has suspended its industrial action.

The train operator has said it is not possible to reintroduce the normal timetable until then as work rosters for this week have already been issued.

Southern have said that the RMT's conductors' strike on Monday 23rd January also restricts its capability to return the service to normal before then.

Credit: PA

Over 70% of its trains will be able to run during Monday's strike by the RMT union, which is 10% more than previous days of industrial action.

The long-running dispute is regarding Driver Only Operated (DOO) trains which means drivers are in sole control of the train's operation.

Gatwick Express will run again every 15 minutes from Tuesday and be extended every half an hour to Brighton until 10pm when it will run half hourly until midnight and then restart at 5am.

This will allow engineering work to continue to improve route reliability.

However, Thameslink does run an overnight service to and from Gatwick.

Credit: PA

The following routes, which were previously suspended on RMT strike days, will now operate on Monday:

  • Eastbourne – Hastings
  • Chichester – Portsmouth and Southampton
  • Lewes – Haywards Heath
  • Coastway stations (including Bognor, Littlehampton, Eastbourne, Worthing and Hastings) will regain a direct service to London

Routes which previously finished early in the evening will now run much later.


Talks aimed at ending Southern dispute begin

Credit: PA

Talks aimed at ending the long-running dispute over driver-only trains will begin today between the ASLEF union and Southern Rail.

The train drivers' union ASLEF has agreed to suspend all industrial action on Southern Rail scheduled for next week.

The walkout was planned for 24th, 25th and 27th January.

However, industrial action by the RMT union over the role of guards, set for Monday 23rd January, will still go ahead.

The talks are to be held at the Trades Union Congress (TUC) House from today.

We are committed to finding a fair solution to this dispute. We are pleased that all parties have agreed to meet for meaningful talks.”

– TUC General Secretary, Frances O'Grady & Abellio UK HR Director, Andy Meadows

Forgotten smugglers' underground caves could be reopened

Plans to re-open a 'lost Kent attraction' that was shut down 13 years ago could be on the verge of success.

Believed to have been created as a mine - then rediscovered when a gardener fell down a hole - the entrance to the Margate Caves was concreted over in 2004 when they were seen as too expensive to run.

But new funding would mean the caves can be re-opened to the public.

Sarah Saunders reports on what lies beneath our feet:


Driver - crushed by falling tree - wins council battle

A motorist crushed by a falling tree says the long and painful battle to recover from his injuries has been made all the more traumatic by Kent County Council's refusal to pay a penny in compensation.

For three years officials insisted to Graham Forward that the council had no liability for the accident. But now his lawyers have uncovered documents forcing them to change their position.

Derek Johnson reports:

Interviewees: Graham Forward, victim David Sears, Minister Law

Mr Forward’s claim was a complex case and investigations required time in order to ensure that all issues were appropriately considered.

Due to the nature of Mr Forward’s injuries there was also a large amount of medical evidence to review, so that we could ensure that an appropriate sum was offered.

It is always our aim to conclude claims as quickly as possible but some cases do require more extensive investigations than others – as was the case on this occasion.”

– Kent County Council spokesman
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