How rail strikes are affecting train services across the south east

Members of the RMT union are walking out today (June 21), Thursday June 23 and Saturday June 25 in a dispute over pay and job losses. Credit: ITV News Meridian

The biggest rail strike in more than 30 years is underway with train operators across the south east running a significantly reduced service.

Govia Thameslink Railway, which is comprised of Southern, Thameslink, Great Northern and the Gatwick Express is warning passengers to only travel if absolutely necessary during three days of industrial action.

Members of the RMT union are walking out today (June 21st), Thursday June 23 and Saturday June 25 in a dispute over pay and job losses.

Southern Rail said a reduced service is running between Tuesday and Sunday with lots of routes closed.

An empty platform at Winchester station. Credit: ITV News Meridian

Trains will only be running on the Brighton mainline.

Dorset will see no train services at all and costal towns will also be cut off with operators planning to run a limited number of routes from a limited number of stations.

Four trains per hour are running between Brighton and London Victoria / London Bridge and two trains an hour between Brighton and Hove.

In the south east, 40 Kent stations will not have services until Wednesday afternoon.

Stations across the south are empty. Credit: ITV News Meridian

Many of the stations affected are smaller and more rural, such as Martin Mill near Deal.

Some larger stations such as Ramsgate and Canterbury East and West, which are on the high speed route to London Victoria, will also be affected.

At Ashford, the normally bustling commuter hub with a frequent high-speed service into London, trains to the capital are running twice an hour.

Service disruption - what's happening on your route?

Southern, Thameslink, Gatwick Express

London Victoria and Brighton

Two trains per hour will run between London Victoria and Brighton, calling at London Victoria, Clapham Junction, East Croydon, Gatwick Airport, Haywards Heath and Brighton only.

London Bridge and Brighton

Two trains per hour will run between London Bridge and Brighton, calling at London Bridge, East Croydon, Gatwick Airport, Three Bridges, Balcombe, Hayward’s Heath, Wivelsfield, Burgess Hill, Hassocks, Preston Park and Brighton only.

London Bridge and Gatwick Airport

Two trains per hour will run between London Bridge and Gatwick Airport, calling at London Bridge, Norwood Junction, East Croydon, Purley, Redhill, Earlswood, Salfords, Horley and Gatwick Airport only.

London Bridge and Three Bridges

Two trains per hour will run between London Bridge and Three Bridges, calling at London Bridge, Norwood Junction, East Croydon, Coulsdon South, Merstham, Redhill, Horley, Gatwick Airport and Three Bridges only.

Brighton and Hove

Two trains per hour will run between Brighton and Hove only.

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Trains will run between London Bridge to Orpington and Dartford.

High Speed services between Ashford and St Pancras International will continue to operate.

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South Western Railway

Trains services will run to/from the following stations to London Waterloo

Southampton - first train to Waterloo 0730, last train back 1718 (Woking, Basingstoke, Winchester, Eastleigh, Southampton Airport Parkway, Southampton Central) 2 fast trains per hour each way

Woking -  first train to Waterloo 0718, last train back 1748 (Weybridge, Byfleet & New Haw, West Byfleet) 4 trains per hour each way

Basingstoke -first train to Waterloo 0724, last train back  1654 (Woking, Brookwood, Farnborough, Fleet, Winchfield, Hook, Basingstoke) 2 trains per hour each way

Windsor - first train to Waterloo 0730, last train back 1730 4 trains per hour each way

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Great Western Railway

The following stations will have a limited train service operating to and from London Paddingdton:

  • Oxford

  • Radley

  • Culham

  • Appleford

  • Swindon

  • Didcot Parkway

  • Cholsey

  • Goring & Streatley

  • Pangbourne

  • Tilehurst

  • Reading

  • Reading West

  • Mortimer

  • Bramley

  • Westbury Basingstoke

  • Windsor & Eton Central

  • Slough

Also operating:

  • Henley-on-Thames - Twyford services calling at Shiplake and Wagrave

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Chiltern Railways

  • Between London - Banbury: One train per hour in each direction

  • Between London - Oxford: No trains in either direction

  • Between London - Aylesbury via High Wycombe: One train per hour in each direction

  • Between Aylesbury - Amersham: One train per hour in each direction (except Tuesday 21st June when there will be no service on this route)

  • Between London – Aylesbury via Amersham (Metropolitan line): No trains in either direction.

There will be no Chiltern services north of Banbury, between Amersham and London on the Metropolitan line, or to Oxford, between Tuesday 21 June and Saturday 25 June.

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Most other services to locations such as Tonbridge, Ramsgate and Canterbury have been suspended.

The Eurostar is running a reduced service but is passing straight through Ashford, as stops were suspended during the pandemic.

Southern railway said this morning that a revised timetable is in place this week due to planned industrial action and are advising people to get paper tickets.

A map of the routes where a limited number of trains will run on strike days Credit: Network Rail

It tweeted: "It appears that eTickets have been knocked out on some routes and we are hoping to get this rectified as quickly as possible. In the mean time, please consider paper options."

Southeastern railway has asked people to "please not travel today, or on 23 and 25 June."

It tweeted: "Services will also be affected on the days following the industrial action, particularly in the mornings."

In Bournemouth, commuters turning up to the station have been met with locked doors

On non-strike days, around 60% of the timetable is planned to run, with services running to a Sunday schedule with no trains before 7:15am with trains out of place.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps on Tuesday said there will be meetings of the Cobra emergency committee on the rail strikes this week.

Mr Shapps said ministers were looking to change the law so firms could bring in agency workers to minimise disruption from strikes.

He told Sky News: "What we will do in the future is we’ll make sure we’ve put in some additional protections in place for the travelling public, for example through minimal service levels.

A picket line of RMT workers has formed in Oxford. Credit: ITV News Meridian

"That would mean on a day like today a certain level of service would still have to be run and through changes to allow for transferable workers, that’s a much quicker change we could take.

"For future strikes, both in this current but also for other strikes, we are going to ensure that the law is firmly on the passengers side. One of the ways is through transferable skills, or agency workers, as you call it."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to say ahead of a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday that unions are "harming the very people they claim to be helping".

He is reportedly set to accuse unions of "driving away commuters who ultimately support the jobs of rail workers”, while also hitting businesses across the country.

Workers on strike have formed a picket line in Reading. Credit: ITV News Meridian

He will say: "Too high demands on pay will also make it incredibly difficult to bring to an end the current challenges facing families around the world with rising costs of living.

"Now is the time to come to a sensible compromise for the good of the British people and the rail workforce."

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch has warned the dispute could continue for months, accusing the government of preventing a settlement to the dispute on BBC's Newsnight.