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Southern rail strike suspended, but there will still be disruption

There's some hope for travellers using the Southern rail network - the strike has been suspended. The union, the RMT, made the announcement.

But there will still be significant disruption. GoVia Thameslink says rolling stock is out of place, and it could take days before the situation gets back to normal - and that will STILL be a reduced service.

And there's still no solution to the dispute about the role of the guard - a dispute that goes back to ACAS, the arbitration service, tomorrow.

Our Political Correspondent Phil Hornby reports.

View the latest Souther timetable here.

Rail strike suspended while talks resume

Statement from Southern: "We are encouraged that the RMT has accepted our offer to resume talks at ACAS and has agreed to call off its strike action. For our passengers' sake we truly hope these talks will be productive and bring this long running dispute to an end. At present, the strike timetable is still in the industry train planning systems for Thursday and Friday. Regrettably, this means tomorrow’s service will be based upon the present strike timetable but we will do our very best to add services in and extend the hours of operation wherever possible. On Friday we plan to revert to the revised timetable operating before the strike. We will update ourwebsite as further information becomes available."

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Brighton MP demands end to rail strike

Caroline Lucas is criticising Southern Credit: ITV

Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion, has urged Southern Rail to accept RMT’s conditions for fresh talks and bring the current strikes to an end.

The way in which this strike has been handled demonstrates yet again that GTR is not fit for purpose. It’s time to strip them of this franchise and put this rail line in public hands.

It’s no exaggeration to say that the debacle that is Southern rail is causing real damage to many of my constituents. And the Government cannot keep shifting the goalposts, allowing Southern to cancel more trains, to run a 'revised' timetable with no end in sight, to leave communities and businesses in my constituency genuinely suffering.

Because let’s not forget that this isn’t just about Southern. The Government has the power to remove the franchise from GTR, to listen to passengers, to freeze fares and to fairly compensate people.

I have been working to challenge those responsible to bring this dispute to an end, and I will continue to do everything in my power to make that happen.

– Caroline Lucas MP

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'People are hitchhiking' - commuters search for alternatives or stay at home on second day of strikes

Today was, of course, day two of Southern Rail's week-long strike with commuters across our region, once again, the hardest hit.

Throughout the day both sides of the dispute - the RMT union and rail operators Govia Thameslink - urged each other to return to the negotiating table.

But while all that was going on thousands of passengers stayed at home, and thousands more had to suffer a timetable running at just 60%.

Andy Dickenson followed passenger Jo Tuck on her way to London and we also hear from Cllr Jeannette Towey of Wealden District Council.

Southern calls for fresh talks in bid to end strike

Southern Railway has called for fresh talks to try to resolve a bitter row over the role of conductors as a second day of strike action caused more travel misery for hundreds of thousands of passengers.

A picket line opposite Victoria Station Credit: PA

The train operator, part of the Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) franchise, said it would meet the Rail, Maritime and Transport union "any time, any place, anywhere" to end the walkout.

The company said one in five conductors turned up for work yesterday, although the union maintained that support for the action was "solid".

The RMT union is holding a protest outside the Department for Transport tomorrow amid claims that the Government has put a "blockade" on talks to end the dispute. The union offered to suspend the action on Friday if GTR matched an offer they secured from Scotrail on the same issue.

The union believes that there is a deal to be done based around the ScotRail principles and that we need to pick up on the progress that was being made when the talks broke down on Friday.

– Mick Cash, RMT
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