Commuters travelling in and out of London on Southern services are facing delays and disruption as RMT union members embarked on the latest round of strike action – and engineering works are creating mroe chaos on the train lines.
Last minute talks aimed at avoiding any disruption to service collapsed last week, and despite Southern Rail launching a legal challenge against RMT in order to prevent the strikes, the three-day industrial action kicked off at midnight. Workers will down tools on four more occasions between now and the end of the year.
"Despite all of the threats and bullying from the company RMT can confirm that the strike action is rock solid and determined again this morning across the Southern Rail network as we fight to put rail safety and access before the profits of the failed Govia Thameslink operation," said RMT's general secretary Mick Cash.
“This action has been forced on us once again by the arrogance and inaction of Govia Thameslink and the government who have made it clear that they have no interest in resolving this dispute or in tackling the daily chaos on Southern. The union has made every effort, right up to the wire, to get talks back on track at ACAS but Southern have deliberately slammed that door in our face."
Passengers will be rightly furious at the sheer contempt that Southern have shown for both staff and the public alike.
Southern is running a reduced service, and said that "on the majority of routes you will be able to travel, either on a Southern train, another operator's train, or a bus".
However, commuters have complained of services being cancelled outright, with some left stranded and unable to get to their place of work.
This is partly due to the fact that planned work which has been taking place in the Balcombe area overnight is being delayed in finishing due to a broken down maintenance train, Southern said this morning, meaning that all lines between Brighton and Gatwick Airport are blocked.
Engineers from Network Rail are attending the scene to move the faulty train, and the line is expected to reopen at 8am.
Meanwhile, Southern has also said an operating incident means it's "currently unable to run on the East Grinstead line".
⚠ Due to an operating incident, we are currently unable to run on the #EastGrinstead line trains are running on the Uckfield line— Southern (@SouthernRailUK) October 11, 2016
So no trains due to strike AND overrunning engineering. These jokes couldn't even run a Hornby train set #SouthernStrike— Richard West (@findricheehere) October 11, 2016