Guildford station grinds to a halt as Aslef driver strike action brings day three of rail disruption

A busy station used by more than 4 million passengers each year hasn't had a single customer for days with trains remaining at a standstill until Sunday.

Services at Guildford station ground to a halt after being hit hard by strike action, first by the RMT and then the drivers' union Aslef.

Trains were parked alongside platforms in the Surrey town with station concourses empty and shops closed while for taxi drivers business simply vanished.

"I was expecting some trains today because people have got to go back to work but it is very quiet and I can't see anyone," said taxi driver Arshad Mahmood.

"It's gone zero, there is no one here at all... the strike is no good for any one, striking is never the solution," he added.

Guildford station is on the mainline into London Waterloo served by South Western Railway and also serves as an interchange for the North Downs Line and the New Guildford Line.

Line of taxis queuing outside Guildford station Credit: ITV News

Thursday marked the third consecutive day of travel disruption because of a strike by train drivers.

Services were affected by the walkout by members of Aslef at fifteen rail companies in a long-running dispute over pay, with some areas having no trains all day.

The action follows a 48-hour strike by members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union which led to widespread disruption across the country on Tuesday and Wednesday.

For many the strikes mean another day of working from home, including Alex Charraudeau who works at tech firm LinkedIn.

Alex said: "It is incredibly important to have a working train system - we have challenges regularly with bad weather but these train strikes have hit us quite hard.

"It's frustrating because you can't get up to London and seeing our clients face-to-face is important to meet in their place of work and work collaboratively.

"It makes a big difference to the relationship you have with your clients".

Sign warns of disruption at Guildford station Credit: ITV News

The RMT is staging another 48-hour strike from Friday in its bitter dispute over jobs, pay and conditions.

Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan said it was “inevitable” that further strikes will be held unless the deadlock is broken.

He warned that strikes could escalate, saying train drivers wanted to go “harder and faster” after years of not receiving a pay rise.

Conservative MP for Guildford Angela Richardson said she felt "incredibly disappointed" for commuters who had inundated her with emails about rail services.

"Guildford isn't just a commuter town where people travel into London, there are people travelling into Guildford to work in some of our important key services," Angela Richardson said.

"We have a hospital here, a university, teachers who need to come to work and they can't all afford to live in Guildford so they have to travel in.

"It's important to our local economy and night time economy - pubs, bars and theatre, and we have a great panto at the Yvonne Arnaud.

"People need to access those things without having to drive," she added.

Companies affected by the Aslef strike on Thursday are Avanti West Coast; Chiltern Railways; CrossCountry; East Midlands Railway; Great Western Railway; Greater Anglia; GTR Great Northern Thameslink; London North Eastern Railway; Northern Trains; Southeastern; Southern/Gatwick Express; South Western Railway (depot drivers only); SWR Island Line; TransPennine Express; and West Midlands Trains.

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