Southern Rail Strike Sees Commuters Slam Network For 'Sustained, Unprecedented Misery'

'What a disgrace of a service.'

Passengers impacted by Southern Rail’s five-day strike are accusing the company for being “beyond ridiculous”.

Early this morning Southern rail advised its customers to “plan ahead” as 40% of its services were being cut after talks aimed at resolving a long running row over the role of conductors collapsed.

It didn’t go down well.

Some stations have LIMITED service today (approx 0730 & 1800) + some stations have NO Southern services. Plan ahead

— Southern (@SouthernRailUK) August 8, 2016

@SouthernRailUK please stop saying plan ahead, it's insulting. We plan to get trains every day but you repeatedly fail to deliver.

— larksgal (@larksgal) August 8, 2016

@SouthernRailUK I planned ahead, look what happened. What a shower of sht your operation is.

— Nigel Rushworth (@rushworth_nigel) August 8, 2016

@SouthernRailUK can't plan ahead when it shows trains that aren't actually running!!!👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼

— Elly Sophia (@ellysophia) August 8, 2016

@SouthernRailUK I always plan ahead it's just your services are constantly subject to "Delays, Cancellations and short notice alterations"

— Richard Edmonds (@ontheearn) August 8, 2016

@SouthernRailUK Has there ever been a 'service' company that has delivered such sustained unprecedented Misery to 'valued' customers.

— Mark Marriott (@mmarriott1) August 8, 2016

@SouthernRailUK is this 60% running of the reduced service or 60% of your so called full service ?

— Rui Cater (@ruicater) August 8, 2016

Passengers advised to make alternative arrangements in the wake of #southernstrike

— BadSouthernRail (@BadSouthernRail) August 8, 2016

The transport provider later advised commuters that non-folding bicycles “will not be permitted” on its services.

The tweet got a similar response.

Non-folding bicycles will not be permitted on our services today. Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

— Southern (@SouthernRailUK) August 8, 2016

@SouthernRailUK neither will passengers

— Christopher Durrant (@DrCJDurrant) August 8, 2016

@DrCJDurrant @SouthernRailUK or trains....

— Sunny Shukla (@sunnyshukla27) August 8, 2016

Southern rail then stated the obvious, that there could be queues, and were crucified for it.

Queuing systems may be in place at some stations this morning due to RMT Strike. Please plan ahead & take extra care whilst at stations

— Southern (@SouthernRailUK) August 8, 2016

@SouthernRailUK so it should just feel about the same as any other day?

— ʞɔoɔpɐuɐp (@danadcock) August 8, 2016

This week @SouthernRailUK is unavailable! #southernrail #southernstrike

— The Grump Crusader ツ (@grumpcrusader) August 8, 2016

#southernrail riddle:

When I'm not cancelled, I'm delayed.
When delayed & I finally arrive, I'm too full to get on.

What am I?

— Rachel Pritchard (@gingerpritch) August 8, 2016

Beyond ridiculous what customers of #southernrail have to endure as a result of the #southernstrike .should be compensated for lack of care.

— Inderjit Farmahan (@Inderjitfa) August 8, 2016

@SouthernRailUK which means I can't get to work!! Thanks a lot. Absolute joke

— Andrew Cooper (@twoscoops7) August 8, 2016

@SouthernRailUK think you need to change your bio, don't think you've ever helped anyone with a journey

— Scott (@Chicaned02) August 8, 2016

@BBCr4today Southern Rail have been awful for months. This isn't about the strike. It's about a franchise that can't meet its obligations.

— Ursula Doyle (@suladoyle) August 8, 2016

@SouthernRailUK @SortMyTravel what a disgrace of a service you "provide"😡😡😡😡😡😡

— Chris Rhodes (@Kitrhodes) August 7, 2016

Although one commenter expressed some sympathy for at least one Southern rail worker...

The person having to reply to angry commuter’s tweets.

Imagine being the person responsible for the southern rail Twitter account this morning...

— Siobhán (@wigglymittens) August 8, 2016

Southern rail trains have been disrupted for weeks because of industrial action and a shortage of staff, which the company blamed on high levels of sickness.

Picket lines will be mounted across Southern’s network, including London Victoria and Brighton.

The union has accused the Government of “sabotaging” three days of talks last week at the conciliation service Acas, which broke down without agreement.

Southern’s owners Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) said it had offered new assurances on jobs to the union, although it is pressing ahead with plans to change the role of conductors later this month.

A picket line opposite Victoria Station in London
A picket line opposite Victoria Station in London
Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “This action has been forced on us by the arrogance and inaction of Govia Thameslink and the Government who have made it clear that they have no interest in resolving this dispute or in tackling the daily chaos on Southern.

“Our fight is with the company and the Government who have dragged this franchise into total meltdown. We share the anger and frustration of passengers and we cannot sit back while jobs and safety are compromised on these dangerously overcrowded trains.”

Southern’s Passenger Service Director Angie Doll said: “We have gone the extra mile with our compromise offer, but the RMT has made it clear they are not prepared to negotiate. They did not want to discuss the role of the on-board supervisor and remain rigidly opposed to evolving the role of on-board staff to focus more on customers.

People line up to board a Southern rail service train at East Dulwich
People line up to board a Southern rail service train at East Dulwich
Carl Court via Getty Images

“We are deeply disappointed and angry on behalf of our passengers at this stance, which will cause misery for our passengers and untold damage to the local economy in the southeast.”

The RMT’s strike is unnecessary, unacceptable and unjustified.”

Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, representing train operators and Network Rail, said: “Next week’s strike action is going to cause misery for thousands of passengers. Southern’s offer to its staff last week shows there are no risks to jobs or pay.

“Drivers have been closing train doors elsewhere on the railway for the last three decades so we know that it is a safe way of working.”


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