Rail passengers urged to check their journeys ahead of national strike action by ASLEF and RMT unions
Published: 23 May 2023
Regrettably, due to upcoming national industrial action on the railway, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) – which operates Southern, Thameslink, Great Northern and Gatwick Express – is urging customers to check before they travel on services from mid-May until early June.
Strike action by ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, means there will be no trains at all running on Friday 12 May, Wednesday 31 May or Saturday 3 June.
In addition, services will be limited across the network on Saturday 13 May due to strike action by the RMT union. The operator will run as many trains as possible on main line routes, but on this date, passengers are reminded that the network will start later and finish earlier than usual. Customers should check before they travel and allow additional time for their journeys.
The impact of this action will have a knock-on effect on Sunday 14 May, with services across the GTR network beginning no earlier than approximately 7am in some areas.
Gatwick Express will not be running on 13 May, but the airport will continue to be served by Southern and Thameslink.
From Monday 15 until Saturday 20 May inclusive, as well as Thursday 1 June, GTR will be implementing an amended timetable with fewer services overall. This is due to a ban on overtime by ASLEF. The amended timetable has been designed to help customers plan their journey with more certainty and consistency, with fewer on-the-day cancellations. Customers should always check train details before travelling, especially for essential trips such as appointments or exams, as train times will differ to usual. With services likely to be busier, allowing extra time for journeys is advisable.
Journey planners are now live for Friday 12 and Saturday 13 May. Journey Planners for the remaining industrial action period will continue to be updated on an ongoing basis from Wednesday 10 May.
Jenny Saunders, Customer Services Director at Govia Thameslink Railway, said: “We apologise for the huge inconvenience this period of industrial action will have on our customers. It’s important that people plan ahead as much as possible, especially on ASLEF strike days where there will be no trains.
“To help minimise disruption during the ASLEF overtime ban period from 15 – 20 May, we’re running an amended timetable to provide greater certainty for passengers. Services during this time will be busier than usual and customers may have to queue for peak time trains, such as early mornings. If passengers can be flexible with their journeys, then we advise travelling at quieter times such as Mondays and Fridays. In any case – it’s essential that customers check before they travel during the entire period.”
From Friday 12 May until Saturday 3 June, it is essential that anyone planning to travel by train checks their journey via www.nationalrail.co.uk. For essential appointments, exams or other commitments which cannot be moved – allow extra time for the journey. GTR has liaised with schools across its network regarding the upcoming industrial action to help people plan ahead for GCSE and A Level exams.
Steve Montgomery is Chair of the Rail Delivery Group who are leading on national negotiations. He said: "We understand the impact of these strikes on individuals and businesses alike, and we can only apologise for this unnecessary and damaging disruption."