On the eve of the ASLEF drivers’ 3-day strike on Southern Rail this week (Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday), the train operator is reminding passengers to travel only if essential.

No Southern services will run on the strike days and with only a limited bus links from a small number of stations, the train company is advising people wherever possible to make alternative arrangements.

For those who have no option, Southern is providing limited bus and coach each day to provide road links for essential travel from nine of its stations (see below) into nearby neighbouring train networks where they can connect into other train operators' services.

However, space on the buses will be limited.

Anyone who does travel should expect to queue, plan for longer journeys and realise the service they join will be exceptionally busy. Southern train tickets will also be accepted by other operators’ transport (see www.southernrailway.com).

Southern is also advising people to work from home or remotely if they can, and to stagger journeys if they can’t.

As well as the three days of strikes, Southern and Gatwick Express services will be severely disrupted every day until further notice due to ASLEF's refusal to allow drivers to work overtime.

Other measures include:

  • Thameslink services will continue to operate throughout each day.

  • The Gatwick Express will provide a reduced service every 30 minutes between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria.

  • Coach operator National Express is laying on extra services from Brighton to London throughout the week (nationalexpress.com)

  • Details of car share schemes are being made available to passengers on Southern's website.

The strike goes ahead despite the intervention of Transport Secretary Chris Grayling who urged the unions to back down in Friday.

In a broadcasting exclusive, ITV Meridian's Mike Pearse chaired a debate between ASLEF's Paul Cox and Southern's Angie Doll, but it was apparent that both sides remain entrenched in their positions.

"Once again we wish to remind our passengers not to attempt to travel unless it is absolutely necessary on this week’s strike days. There will also be significant disruption and hardship on the days ASLEF is not on strike because of their overtime ban, especially on Thursday when trains will be out of position because of the strikes on each day either side.

Angie Doll, Southern Rail's Passenger Service Director

Buses will link:

  • Oxted with Sevenoaks (connect with Southeastern)

  • Uckfield with Tunbridge Wells via Crowborough (connect to Southeastern)

  • Eastbourne with Hastings (connect with Southeastern)

  • Bexhill to Hastings (connect with Southeastern) Horsham to Dorking (connect with South West Trains)

  • Hastings to Ashford calling all stations (connect to Southeastern)

  • Chichester to Havant (connect with South West Trains)

  • Seaford to Lewes calling all stations (local service, no onward connection)

  • East Grinstead to Gatwick (connect to Gatwick Express)

Passengers are advised to check the Southern website for further details www.southernrailway.com/your-journey/strike/aslef-strike including how to claim strike compensation.