UK

Victoria Line Service Suspension, Southern Rail Strikes And Abellio Greater Anglia Delays Cause London Travel Chaos

Good luck folks.

13/12/2016 08:19 GMT | Updated 13/12/2016 14:01 GMT

LATEST: The Victoria line is now running normally. Southern Rail is still on strike...

A combination of train strikes, cancellations, floods and a signal failure on the busy Victoria Line at Brixton led to chaotic scenes in London on Tuesday morning.

Underground stations on the Victoria Line were either packed or shuttered while some mainline terminals were like ghost towns.

Commuter Palko Karasz told The Huffington Post UK it took him 15 minutes just to get inside a rammed Finsbury Park station, which also serves the delay-hit Piccadilly Line.

Over on Southern Rail, stations were free of trains and empty of passengers, who appeared to heed warnings not to travel because of the three-day driver strike.

Commuters on the other side of London were also facing cancellations and delays on the Abellio Greater Anglia franchise between Cambridge and Liverpool Street as well as at Ipswich and Marks Tey.

The Southern strike also caused a knock-on effect at other stations as people tried to find alternative routes for their commute. 

To compound the misery, Victoria Line trains on the London Underground between Brixton and Victoria were suspended, with severe delays on the rest of the line, because of a signal failure.

Passengers hoping to travel from Brixton were being asked to take alternative routes.

Service later resumed on the Victoria Line but still with severe delays and access to stations is being restricted.

Meanwhile the ongoing Southern Rail strike meant there were no trains at all running for the company.

#SouthernFail was trending in London as people tried to see the funny side of the delays.

And things were not much better on Monday before the strike even began.

The strikes by drivers on Southern Railway will see the worst disruption in nearly two decades.

The operator’s owners lost a legal bid to halt the walkout, which will mean hundreds of thousands of passengers will have to work from home, take time off, or attempt to drive because of the huge disruption.

Members of the drivers’ union will strike on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday in a dispute over driver-only trains.

Charles Horton, chief executive of Southern’s parent company Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), confirmed there will be no services on strike days and “severe disruption” during an ongoing overtime ban.

The shutdown of Southern’s services will be the worst disruption since the railways were hit by a lengthy strike by signal workers in the mid 1990s.

RMT drivers on Southern will also be on strike, while the guards will launch a fresh 48-hour walkout from next Monday, and a three-day stoppage from New Year’s Eve.

GTR lost a legal bid in the High Court last week to stop the drivers’ strikes, before also losing its appeal on Monday.

Three judges in the Court of Appeal backed High Court judge Sir Michael Burton’s refusal to grant an injunction blocking what GTR called “unprecedented” strike action and argued would unlawfully restrict freedom of movement provisions under EU law.

Lord Justice Elias, Lord Justice Lewison and Lord Justice Lloyd Jones also said they were not prepared to grant an injunction.

Around 300,000 passengers travel on 2,242 Southern services every weekday, including busy commuter routes from Sussex to London Victoria.

They have suffered months of disruption because of the Aslef dispute and a separate row with the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union over changes to the role of guards, as well as staff shortages, staff sickness and other problems such as signal failures.

Aslef is also planning a week-long strike from January 9.