© Greater London Authority

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and the Leader of Brighton and Hove City Council, Bella Sankey, have expressed their concerns over train disruptions due to take place during Brighton Pride.

In a joint letter sent to Partick Verwer, CEO of Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), on 27 July, each shared their worries over there potentially being no service running between London and Brighton on 5 August.

“As you are aware, this is the weekend of Brighton & Hove Pride, one of the biggest and significant events in the city and one of the most historic Prides in the country,” they wrote. “Every year people travel from all over the country to attend this celebration, including an estimated 100,000 by train, many of whom alight your service in London.”

They added that having no trains running on this day “would have a disastrous impact on the safety and success of Pride” and “undermine” GTR’s reputation within the LGBTQ+ community.

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Khan and Sankey continued: “It is incredibly important that day travellers on Saturday 5 August are able to arrive and leave our cities in a safe, appropriate and managed way. Your trains are an essential part of that and you have a huge responsibility to ensure our cities are not cut-off for one its most important LGBTQI+ events of the year.

“GTR will be well-aware of the timing of Pride each year and I would expect your company to have planned ahead, have mitigated possible risks, and put in place suitable provision. I understand that your position is that the service cannot be operated due to ASLEF’s ongoing overtime ban. However, I understand that ASLEF believe the service could still run by making adjustments to staffing rotas.”

“This has been an extremely difficult decision to make”

They asked that GTR “urgently” work with the relevant partners to “explore all possible options to ensure the availability of a full schedule of transport” on the day of Brighton Pride.

GTR is the parent company of Southern Railway, which confirmed on 27 July that the decision to run no trains on 5 August was made “with a heavy heart”.

“This has been an extremely difficult decision to make due to the major impact it will have on everyone planning to attend Pride, which GTR has proudly supported for many years,” the organisation said.

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Services on 4 and 6 August are due to go ahead as normal, with trains also scheduled to run from London to Three Bridges on 5 August – meaning there is some capacity for those attending Pride to make alternative arrangements.

Paul Kemp, the Managing Director of Brighton Pride, described the disruptions as “truly devastating” news.

“Many Pride visitors have already booked and paid for Saturday night accommodation locally; they will now have to change plans or find an alternative way to get into the city,” he said.

Those wishing to attend Brighton Pride can check Southern Railway for the latest updates on trains.