Southern rail tells customers not to travel tomorrow whether or not it manages to block one of the two sets of strike action

 
Oliver Gill
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Passengers and a Southern rail train: Not a picture expected to be seen tomorrow

Southern rail has decided to elevate itself to the same level of the great British institution of bad weather and told London's workers not to worry about rail strikes and simply take the day off.

While bosses in the City may have been a little more sympathetic to a day of workers being stranded in their houses as a result of snow or flooding, it is unlikely they'll be so supportive of the advice by Southern's owner Govia.

Read more: Southern Rail strikes: Everything you need to know

Like any well-established institution, in this morning's announcement Southern has referred to itself in the third person and said: "Please don't travel, Southern warns train passengers".

Train drivers from the Aslef union are joining forces with the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) in a double whammy of strikes starting tomorrow on the Southern network as part of an embittered row over who operates the train doors on services.

The concerted action will bring Southern's services to a standstill and owner Govia has applied to the Court of Appeal to overturn a High Court ruling that failed to prevent the Aslef action going ahead.

The outcome from the Court of Appeal is unlikely to be known until this afternoon and so even if it is successful, Southern still won't be able to operate. Angie Doll, Southern's passenger services director said:

We hope for the sake of our passengers our application to the Court of Appeal is successful. Even if we are able to stop the strikes through the court, services will still be very heavily impacted tomorrow.

Read more: Southern rail make a last ditch attempt to avert strikes

The good news is though if the appeal does go the right way – allegedly just like some of Southern's services – "we will work through the night to try and provide as many services as possible," said Doll.

And in ironic advice that some Southern customers may feel stretches beyond the current industrial action, Doll added: "We are still advising passengers not to travel as we will not be able to offer a robust service they can rely on."

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