Rail chaos: Southern drivers end 18-month strike

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Phil Stone, managing director for Arriva North West: "It is disappointing that, having met with the unions last week where we tabled two further improved pay offers they are unwilling to take these back to their membership for a vote". In fact at Southern Rail, where these changes have already been introduced, there are now more staff on trains.

Strike action has caused delays and cancellations across the Southern network stretching back to April 2016, after Govia Thameslink Railway - Southern's parent company - announced plans to remove conductors from its trains, leaving them exclusively operated by the driver.

Govia Thameslink Railway Chief Operating Officer Nick Brown said: "This dispute has been hard for our passengers in particular, and we are pleased that we can now move ahead and deliver stability by finally concluding this deal with ASLEF".

"Our trains will be planned to have a second person on board and this has been the arrangement we have operated over the a year ago". The on-board service concept has been welcomed by our passengers across the board.

A spokesperson for the Transport Department dismissed the strikes as part of the RMT's "political game", claiming "rail companies are keeping passengers moving with the large majority of services running as planned". "Avoiding cancellations is key to us delivering a resilient and reliable service across the busiest and most congested part of the United Kingdom rail network".

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Many passengers took to Twitter to vent their anger at the industrial action and disruption it was causing to their travel arrangements after many services were axed, while those that did operate encountered lengthy delays. "The independent rail regulator has said driver-controlled trains, which have been used in this country for more than 30 years, are safe", the spokesman added.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: "This shoddy deal, sponsored by Theresa May and Chris Grayling, extends and institutionalises discrimination against disabled and older people".

Driver will be responsible for opening and closing train doors, with guards transferred to the role of the on-board supervisor.

The row is over the introduction of new suburban trains which the union says are unsafe.

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