National strike days in early November - travel only if absolutely necessary on Great Northern, Southern and Thameslink

  • Avoid taking the train to bonfire celebrations on 5 Nov
  • Schoolchildren and commuters impacted Monday 7 Nov to Thursday 10 Nov
  • Services will also start later the day after each strike

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) is warning passengers to travel only if absolutely necessary with Southern, Great Northern or Thameslink on Saturday 5, Monday 7 and Wednesday 9 November, due to national strikes by the RMT union. Gatwick Express will not operate at all on these days although the airport will have a limited Southern and Thameslink service of eight trains an hour in each direction.

Passengers should make alternative travel plans where possible to reach bonfire celebrations as return journeys will not be running due to the early shut down of the rail network on strike days. Neither Battersea nor Alexandra Palace will be served past 3pm on Saturday, which are big destinations for many watching fireworks.

Schoolchildren, students and commuters will also be affected throughout the week up to and including Thursday, on both the strike days and the days after, when services start much later in the morning than usual.

Although train operator staff are also taking action on some of the days, it is striking signallers at Network Rail who have the greatest impact on the service, leading operator Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) to focus on providing a service on its busiest mainline routes only.

Strike day services will operate as follows (a service map will be published on the Southern, Great Northern, Thameslink and Gatwick Express websites by tomorrow (Tuesday)):

Strike days 5, 7 and 9 November - travel only if absolutely necessary

  • There will be no service at all on most lines south of London, in Sussex, Surrey and Kent, across the heart of London itself, into London Moorgate, or on the route between Ely and King's Lynn.
  • Trains won't start until 7.30am and they'll finish early, between 4.30pm and 6.30pm. Passengers need to check what this means for their journeys as the first trains of the day may not reach stations until considerably later.
  • Overall, across Great Northern, Southern and Thameslink, there will be very few trains (around 20%) with crowding expected, particularly on first and last services.
  • Gatwick Express will not operate, although the airport will have a limited Southern and Thameslink service of eight trains an hour in each direction.
  • Pre-planned engineering work on Saturday will also prevent Thameslink trains running between Luton and St Pancras, and Southern metro services will not run via Crystal Palace or West Norwood.

Days after strikes: 6, 8 and 10 November - services start much later

  • Services will start later the morning after, at around 7.30am. Morning trains are likely to be very busy. Customers are recommended to travel later, plan their journeys and check again before travelling.
  • On Thursday 10 November, the RMT is also taking strike action on London Underground and London Overground.

Customer information

  • Full information is available on the Gatwick Express, Great Northern, Southern and Thameslink websites. Online journey planners such as www.nationalrail.co.uk will be updated with the revised train times 3-4 days before each day (see editor's notes).

Angie Doll, Chief Operating Officer, Govia Thameslink Railway, said:

"I'm sorry so many people will be affected by the RMT strikes starting on 5 November and urge people not to travel by train unless absolutely necessary on any strike day.

"On Saturday, people may be considering taking the train to fireworks celebrations but the service will end early and they won't be able to get back.

"In fact, there will be disruption all the way through to Thursday morning and schoolchildren in particular will be affected as services will start much later in the morning every day.

"Please plan ahead carefully by visiting nationalrail.co.uk. We continue to urge the unions to work with the industry and come to a resolution."


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