LONDON – Some of London’s biggest railway stations will be shut on Thursday while airports such as Gatwick are also deprived of any train services, as strikes on the network reach a critical peak.
Commuter services into the capital run by Thameslink, Southern and Southeastern will come to a complete halt. Train drivers represented by the Aslef union are walking out following a long dispute over pay.
The walkout comes in the middle of four days of separate strikes held by the RMT, another labor group. While the RMT is not technically on strike Thursday, services will be crippled by Aslef’s industrial action.
The effect will be more severe than on the days affected by the RMT’s strikes. London Bridge, Victoria and City Thameslink will have no services at all. There will be no services on the West Coast main line which connects London to Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow.
Some rail operators will run a heavily reduced service, such as Great Western Rail which will provide one hourly train into Paddington. That is compared with four hourly trains on previous RMT strike days.
Travellers to and from Gatwick airport will have to make their way by coach or car. However, most of the hub’s coach services run by National Express Group Plc have already sold out. Neither will there be any trains to Luton airport.
Bus services in west and south London will be disrupted as a strike by Abellio workers continues into its second day.
Aslef recently re-balloted members and now has a mandate to take further strike action up until June. Talks between union bosses, ministers and train company executives are expected to resume at the start of next week. BLOOMBERG