Southern Reinstates Limited Peak Service through H&F

But more strikes likely as talks break down between union and network

Southern has announced that it has reinstated  a limited peak hour service between Clapham Junction and Watford Junction, with two trains running in each direction during the morning rush hour and two more in each direction during the afternoon rush hour.

See the timetable here.

The rail company also says it is operating a normal service on Saturdays and Sundays, alongside the Overground service running from Willesden Junction to Clapham Junction via Imperial Wharf, West Brompton, Olympia and Shepherd's Bush.

This announcement came as talks broke down between its parent company Govia Thameslink (GTR) and the RMT union. This means that cancellation of the last two days of the five day strike on Southern Rail last week looks set to be a temporary reprieve.

The RMT says that proposals it presented at the talks at ACAS were rejected out of hand but GTR passenger services director Angie Doll said that the unions would not agree to a deal that gave them the flexibility needed to continue operating the service at times of disruption. Other train networks in the UK already operate under similar arrangements.

‘On-board supervisors’ are due to be introduced onto the trains instead of conductors later this month with drivers becoming responsible for the operation of the doors. The union say that a second person needs to be on the train at all times for safety reasons.

Ms Doll said: "We have guaranteed to have a second person on as many trains as today, but the union is rigidly refusing our offer to agree a list of exceptional circumstances when we would be able to run our trains without a second staff member on board, such as during disruption."

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said, "We had a golden opportunity in these talks to make some serious progress on the core issue of a second person on the train who would have protected the safety of passengers, delivered customer service and ensured access to services for those with disabilities or needing assistance.

"‎It's a bitter blow that a firm set of union proposals that could have allowed us to move forward were rejected out of hand. "

An Acas spokesman said: "Acas conciliation talks have ended without the sides reaching agreement. There are no further talks planned but our services remain available."

The RMT executive will meet this afternoon (15 August) to consider their next move.

August 22, 2016