Bedfordshire London Marathon runners need to plan ahead during rail strikes

Strikes will take place on October 1 and 8
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Bedfordshire’s London Marathon runners are being warned to expect delays during a planned rail strike on Saturday.

Passengers should travel only if absolutely necessary on Southern, Great Northern and Thameslink on Saturdays 1 and 8 October due to strikes at Network Rail and UK train operators, say train operators.

There will be no service at all on many lines south of London, across the heart of London itself, or on the route between Ely and King’s Lynn and trains will start much later and finish earlier.

A map of the train routes affectedA map of the train routes affected
A map of the train routes affected

On Sunday 2 October, services will start much later, meaning only those travelling a short distance to the London Marathon will reach the 9.30am start line on time.

Striking signallers at Network Rail will have the greatest impact on the service, leading operator Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) to focus on providing a service on its busiest mainline routes only.

On 1 October, pre-planned engineering work will also stop trains running between Brighton and Three Bridges and between Balham and West Croydon via Crystal Palace.

Overall, across Great Northern, Southern and Thameslink, there will be very few trains (around 18%) with crowding expected, particularly on first and last trains. This will be made worse by ASLEF train drivers striking at neighbouring train operators on 1 October.

Trains won’t start until 7.30am and they’ll finish early, between 4.30pm and 6.30pm. Passengers need to check what this means for their journeys as the first trains of the day may not reach stations until considerably later.

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Gatwick Express will not operate, although the airport will have a limited Southern and Thameslink service of eight trains an hour in each direction.

Services will start later the morning after each strike, at around 7.30am. Morning trains are likely to be very busy. Customers are recommended to travel later, plan their journeys and check again before travelling.

Strikes near or around the GTR network by ASLEF train driver members on October 5 at London Overground, LNER, Southeastern, East Midlands Railway and Greater Anglia will make Gatwick Express, Great Northern, Southern and Thameslink services extremely busy. Expect disruption.

On the Tonbridge to Redhill route, where trains are normally operated by Southeastern drivers, a special timetable will run to support schools and is expected to be available in journey planners such as www.nationalrail.co.uk from 29 September.

Online journey planners such as www.nationalrail.co.uk are now up to date with the latest service information for Saturday 1 October.

Angie Doll, Chief Operating Officer, Govia Thameslink Railway, said:  “It is with much regret that we have to advise our passengers to travel only if absolutely necessary on Saturdays 1 and 8 October. Strike action means train services across the country will be significantly limited, with many routes not running at all.

“Services will start much later in the morning. We expect our first trains to be very busy, so, if you can, please travel later in the day. Trains will also finish as early as 4.30pm, so plan ahead if you absolutely have to travel on these days.

“We’re particularly concerned for London Marathon runners, who will have been training for this special event for many months, hoping to raise millions of pounds for charity, and the spectators.”

“We urge the unions to work with the industry and come to a resolution.”