Brighton Pride 2023: Train station closed this weekend due to overtime ban - how to get there

Anyone planning to travel from London to Brighton Pride on Saturday by train will need to make alternative arrangements.
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Festival-goers planning to travel from London to Brighton Pride this weekend are set to face travel chaos as all rail services to the city are set to be suspended.

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has cancelled all Southern and Thameslink trains to and from Brighton on Saturday August 5, amid the Aslef union’s overtime ban.

Brighton & Hove Pride is set to take place on Saturday August 5 and Sunday August 6, celebrating the 50 year anniversary of the first Brighton Pride march.

Events include the fundraiser Fabuloso in Preston Park and the Pride Village Party.

GTR says the overtime ban means it would have had to run far fewer trains than normal, making it “impossible to avoid severe overcrowding” and presenting a “considerable risk to passenger safety”. As a result, Brighton station will be closed for the whole of Saturday.

Trains on the Brighton Main Line will terminate at Three Bridges and rail services along the coast to Brighton will also be cancelled.

Anyone planning to attend Pride on Saturday by rail will need to make alternative arrangements. Trains will run as usual on Friday August 4 and Sunday August 6.

What are organisers saying?

Paul Kemp, managing director of Pride, said: “We are deeply disappointed GTR has announced no trains will run to Brighton on the Saturday of Pride weekend cutting off Brighton & Hove from the rest of the UK rail network on such an important weekend for our city.”

Brighton & Hove Pride had been talking with ASLEF and GTR since the overtime ban was announced and organisers said the decision to run no trains at all is ‘“not a welcome outcome.”

Paul added: “This will come as a huge shock for not only Pride and the LGBTQ+ community but all the businesses preparing to welcome guests to our city from across the UK and world. It’s truly devastating news for everyone. We would like to be clear that we don’t agree with GTR’s decision, nor the reasons given for completely stopping train services and the potential of adverse knock-on effects.

“We also note that an overtime ban still allows for a reduced service to operate, which is very different from the strike days. So it is very sad to see GTR put a complete service shutdown in place rather than finding a working alternative.”

Festival goers travelling to Brighton Pride this weekend are set for travel disruptionsFestival goers travelling to Brighton Pride this weekend are set for travel disruptions
Festival goers travelling to Brighton Pride this weekend are set for travel disruptions

What is GTR saying?

GTR said Brighton Pride was the biggest event on its network. It said it had followed police safety advice.

It said the overtime ban meant that 20,000 passengers could be stranded at Brighton station late on Saturday if it ran a partial service.

“We can’t in good faith bring people into Brighton that cannot get home again, potentially leaving thousands of people stranded – safety must come first,” it said.

Chris Fowler, network operations director at GTR, said: “GTR has an extremely long-standing relationship with Pride and we are bitterly disappointed to make this unbelievably difficult decision.”

What is Aslef saying?

Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan said: “It is outrageous – and utterly ridiculous – to try to blame Aslef for problems which are entirely of this train company’s own making. GTR Thameslink has known the date of Brighton Pride for a very long time. Yet they are only running trains to Three Bridges – just three-quarters of the way down the line – in a deliberate and malicious attempt to disrupt the LGBT+ day and then to blame Aslef for its own manifest failings. That, I think, is beneath contempt.”

Alternative ways to get to Brighton Pride

Brighton Pride organisers suggest festival-goers arrive earlier on Friday 4 and leave on Sunday 6 if they are able, either by extending booked accommodation or staying with friends.

Alternatively people can travel by bus, with National Express coaches from London Victoria to Brighton leaving every hour from 2am till 11.59pm.

Organisers have warned anyone travelling by car that there will be significant road closures on the day of the parade. There is no parking in Preston Park and its surroundings on Saturday.

For more information visit the Brighton & Hove Pride website.

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