National Rail strike: Only travel if your journey is essential on Gatwick Express, Great Northern, Southern and Thameslink between 21 and 26 June

Passengers should only travel if absolutely necessary on Gatwick Express, Southern, Great Northern and Thameslink during next week’s strike by RMT members of Network Rail and other train operators.

Operator Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) warns there will be very few trains every day from the start of the industrial action, on 21 June, until Sunday 26 June inclusive with crowding expected, particularly on last trains and possible delays.

There will be no service at all on many lines on strike days (21, 23 and 25 June) (see map) and there will be late starts and early finishes – as early as late afternoon – throughout the period. See notes to editors for more details.

GTR has been in touch with schools, colleges and hospitals to notify them of the impact of the RMT strike action.

Although RMT members at GTR voted only for action short of a strike, the operator depends on Network Rail signallers and engineers to keep its trains moving, and its services connect with many lines and stations managed by other operators whose staff are taking action.

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

“We’re sorry to say that people should only travel by rail between 21 and 26 June if absolutely necessary due to strike action by RMT members at Network Rail and other train companies. Unfortunately, there will be very few train services and some routes will be closed altogether on strike days.

“Services will start much later than normal and finish early. All this may lead to very busy trains and possible delays. Passengers should plan ahead and think about travelling at another time.

“Strikes are terrible for passengers, especially as the country is starting to recover from the pandemic and return to rail. We urge the RMT to work with Network Rail and train operators to find a swift solution.”

Network Rail Route Director Mark Killick said:

“We’re so sorry for the disruption next week and we know how difficult this will be for our customers so soon after the pandemic. We’ve trained 250 staff so we can keep some of the busiest lines open, focusing our resources on the routes that can keep the largest numbers of customers and freight moving and serving vital locations such as hospitals. That said, we will not compromise on safety and the strike does mean that large parts of the network will be closed.

“We are continuing to work with unions to find a solution and will keep doing so. But we also have to be honest and accept that we have to change the way we work, to reflect the changes in society and travel patterns post pandemic. Again, I’d like to apologise to everyone who find their journeys disrupted next week and urge our customers to check before they travel.”

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