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Southern Rail Fails

24th June 2016

Southern Rail Fails

By Sussex LRC

Readers may have heard reports of the chaos on Southern Rail.  Those on social media can try #SouthernFail or #GoViaNowhere which are among the most popular hashtags in use.

It arises out of rail union members, principally ASLEF drivers (now under court injunction) on Gatwick Express & Southern trains and RMT guards on Southern trains, taking action to oppose the introduction/extension of driver-only operation (DOO).

The dispute is of significance beyond the South East as the franchise for the region was created by the Coalition in 2014 to be the biggest and longest by far of any, giving Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) operation of all services across the region, including Thameslink (all DOO), Southern (no DOO) and Gatwick Express (part DOO).

Passenger anger is such that there are now widespread demands for GTR/Southern to be stripped of its franchise.  Local Tory MPs are buckling to the pressure, but there has been little national profile to this dispute which could catapult rail re-nationalisation to the top of the political agenda. 

Reflecting this lack of national profile, a parliamentary petition calling for GTR to be stripped of its franchise still has less than 10,000 signatures despite only having a few days left to run.  Please do what you can to push this - here

The Guardian has published a reflective piece from an ostensibly non-political angle - here

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Rail bosses are using the recession as an excuse to attack jobs and conditions and cut back on services and essential rail works, and hike rail fares - as LEAP research suggested they would. Thousands of jobs are being threatened or have been lost. At the same time rail fat cats are raking in big profits and bonuses on the back of the most expensive fares in Europe. Make no mistake: as the recession worsens so will the attack on rail workers and rail services. [continue...]

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