East Croydon commuters offer mixed response on biggest rail strike in decades

By Tara O’Connor, Local Democracy Reporter

East Croydon commuters and holidaymakers faced a morning of long delays and cancellations on Tuesday as they tried to get to Central London and Gatwick Airport during the biggest set of rail strikes in decades.

Bharti Kikahbhai, 56, was checking her phone to work out the quickest way to get to work at the Royal Courts of Justice.

What would usually be a 25-minute train to City Thameslink and short walk was looking like it would take her more than an hour, and that is if the trains came or she could get on a bus at London Bridge.

Bharti Kikahbhai faced a long commute to work with no Thameslink trains running to City Thameslink (Picture: Tara O’Connor)

Ms Kikahbhai said: “There is nothing running, I started to look at 7.30am and it was saying two hours.”

She added that she had sympathy with the rail workers but said: “I think they should think of something else, possibly a partial strike where the mornings were not affected.

“It is the (pay increase) percentage that we get and we were on a pay freeze as well for a couple of years. Everyone is in the same position.”

Eric Chalman, 77, had come to East Croydon on the bus from Coulsdon, which he said was busier than usual.

He said: “I couldn’t get the train this morning so I got the bus. It was fairly busy, I know there are a lot of people who can work from home but it affects those who can’t. I think the Government should negotiate with them in a conventional way.”

Eddie Crinnegan, 65, was about to set off on a ramblers walk from the station. He supported the striking rail workers. He said: “I am fully behind it, it is not just the crew it is the admin workers and everybody, they have only had very small pay rises for three years.

“It is about safety, too. I used to travel into town every day and it was horrendous. I didn’t feel particularly safe on trains in the morning because I was like a sardine.”

Eddie Crinnegan said he fully backed the rail workers’ strike (Picture: Tara O’Connor)

Pictured top: East Croydon railway station (Picture: Tara O’Connor)




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