Train strikes 2023: ‘There’s no trains anywhere’- Londoners share their fury over Aslef walkouts
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Furious Londoners have shared their distress over travel disruptions caused by the latest nationwide train strike.
Members of the drivers’ union Aslef at 16 train operators in England walked out today (Wednesday October 4), coinciding with the final day of the annual conference of the Conservative Party in Manchester.
The strikes impacted a number of London commuter train lines including Southeastern, South Western Railway and Thameslink.
Strike action by the RMT union that threatened to shut down London’s Tube network was called off after progress in talks between the union and Transport for London (TfL).
However while London Underground passenger journeys were unaffected, train commuters experienced severe disruptions.
All trains were cancelled from London Bridge station today.
A traveller and her partner, who were trying to get from London Bridge to near Gatwick Airport shared their distress.
“I got here and there’s no trains running down to my Mum’s…There’s no trains anywhere so you get a four hour bus journey which is ridiculous,” they told LondonWorld.
“There are so many reasons why people travel, they could have someone dying in hospital, anything could be happening, and they’re striking because they’re not happy with the money or their hours, they’ll just say, ‘right, we’re just not going to give you the service.’”
Michael Benjafierd, a 72-year-old retiree, said he had booked some tickets to go up the Shard today but couldn’t change them so they had to book two nights in a hotel.
“We came up a day early because there were no trains today from Somerset, where we live,” he said.
“It cost us £100 odd for the extra night, and there are other expenses as well because you’re travelling on the underground for another day.
“I think they [the strikers] need to accept an offer that’s reasonable…As for pay, I think they’re paid well enough for the job that they do.”
A father from New York who dropped his daughter off at Cambridge University paid £300 for an Uber to get back to London.
“The cost of living is going up and everybody is trying to cut money, and it seems like the lower down the ladder the more you get impacted. It’s a reasonable thing, they’re not getting anywhere in regular negotiations, they need to make the public feel the pain so the public complains up the chain,” he said.
Mick Whelan, Aslef’s general secretary, said on Wednesday that the rail strike was “solid, nothing is running.”
He joined striking workers outside London Euston Station who had brought a life-sized cut-out of the Where’s Wally? cartoon character with Transport Secretary Mark Harper’s face attached to it.
Mr Whelan said: “What we are seeing from the Tory conference is the managed decline of our railways.
“We are striking today because we still haven’t seen the transport minister or the companies for the best part of six months.
“The mood of the train drivers in the UK is that we will keep striking until we get a resolution that suits them.”