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Commuter chaos as Aslef 24-hour rail strikes hit

A sign about rail disruption at Reading station as the Aslef industrial action continues
A sign about rail disruption at Reading station as the Aslef industrial action continues - GEOFFREY SWAINE/AVALON

Some of the busiest commuter rail routes in the country had limited services or no trains at all on Wednesday because of more strikes by drivers in their long-running dispute over pay.

Members of the Aslef union at South Western Railway, Southern, Southeastern, Gatwick Express and the Isle of Wight’s Island Line walked out on Wednesday morning for 24 hours in the latest in a series of stoppages this week which are causing travel chaos.

Aslef says its members are determined to continue taking industrial action until they receive an improved pay offer on one made earlier this year of 8 per cent over two years.

Train operators and the Government are urging Aslef to put the offer to a ballot, but the union points out that its members have regularly voted to continue taking strike action.

Mick Whelan, Aslef’s general secretary, said the message he has been receiving is that train drivers are solidly behind the campaign and want to go “further and faster” to try to break the deadlock.

Strikes will be held at CrossCountry and Great Western Railway on Thursday and on TransPennine and Northern Trains on Friday.

Aslef members are also refusing to work overtime this week as part of the dispute, which is also leading to cancellations and delays.