Saturday 5 & Sunday 6 August
IMPORTANT UPDATE: There will be no trains to or from Brighton station on Saturday 5 August.
It is with a heavy heart that we announce that due to serious safety concerns, there will be no trains to or from Brighton station on Saturday 5 August. Friday 4 August and Sunday 6 August are not affected and events on the Saturday are still going ahead.
Therefore, on Saturday 5th August, people will not be able travel to and from Brighton by rail and the station will be closed. Trains on the Brighton Main Line will terminate at Three Bridges. No services will run on the coastways into Brighton because of the amended timetable we will have in place.
Anyone planning to attend Pride on Saturday by rail will need to make alternative arrangements, although we appreciate this will be extremely difficult. We're really sorry for the inconvenience and disappointment this will cause but our ultimate aim is to keep people safe on this occasion.
You can plan and check your journeys for Friday 4 August and Sunday 6 August at nationalrail.co.uk. For further travel advice using other transport modes, please see the Pride website.
About this difficult decision - why can't we run trains?
GTR has an extremely long-standing relationship with Pride and we are very sorry we cannot support this important event this year. We are bitterly disappointed and know this will be incredibly frustrating for everyone who will be impacted, particularly in the LGBTQ+ community.
We have looked at every available option but ultimately the safety of customers and our colleagues must come first. This has been an exceptionally difficult decision to make and we thank the council, police and emergency services for their advice.
Unfortunately, ASLEF has notified train operators that there will be a ban on overtime between 31 July and 5 Aug. In this period, we have an amended timetable in place. This means we will have far fewer services available to serve Brighton, with significantly less capacity than is required for people to travel safely on the busiest day of Pride – Saturday 5 August.
Every year, we run a significantly enhanced service for Pride with additional late-night trains on Saturday evening. These enhancements are needed to safely transport the huge number of people that travel into Brighton during Pride’s busiest day but also home again after the popular Saturday community parade and Fabuloso fundraiser in Preston Park.
In normal times, these services are covered by volunteer drivers. The ASLEF overtime ban means that our volunteers cannot take part, and without the additional late-night services there is a clear risk of stranding tens of thousands of people overnight without accommodation. On Saturday evening there is always a massive demand for return travel over a short period of time, with a capacity shortfall of 85,000 across the day including 20,000 passengers in the busiest hours of the evening alone.
Keeping passengers and colleagues safe is our absolute priority and following discussions with the council, police and emergency services, as well as our own risk assessments, we have sadly concluded that we cannot safely run any services as it would be impossible to avoid severe overcrowding and present a considerable risk to passenger safety. In particular, we cannot in good faith bring large numbers of people into Brighton that would not be able to get home again safely.
Sunday 6 August
On Sunday 6 August, trains will be running to and from Brighton station. Because of the large crowds who will be leaving Brighton after Pride, you should give yourself at least an hour to get to Brighton station from any of the festival sites or the seafront.
Remember that for safety reasons you won’t be able to take any glass bottles or containers into the station or on to our trains.
A rainbow queuing system will be in operation at Brighton station on Sunday at the busiest times. To help you on your way, remember:
- The GREEN queue will be for trains on the East Coastway, for stations towards Lewes, Seaford and Eastbourne
- The PURPLE queue will be for trains on the West Coastway, for stations towards Shoreham-by-Sea, Worthing and Chichester
- The BLUE queue is for trains on the Brighton Main Line, for stations towards Haywards Heath, Gatwick Airport and to London
Make sure you know the times of your late evening trains home and give yourself plenty of extra time, bearing in mind you may have to queue.
You can plan and check your journeys at nationalrail.co.uk.
Frequently asked questions
What do you say to the LGBTQ+ community that will be directly impacted by this?
We have a long standing relationship with Pride and have long supported the LGBTQ+ community, which of course includes many of our own colleagues. We are bitterly disappointed not to support Pride in the way we planned and we’re very sorry for the impact this will have, particularly for everyone in the LGBTQ+ community. All we can say is that we didn’t take this decision lightly and it is done to keep people safe which is our ultimate goal.
Will the main Pride events still happen on Saturday?
Yes the community parade and Fabuloso fundraiser in Preston Park are going ahead.
Can people get refunds on their train tickets?
How short of space are you to run the usual Pride services?
85,000 passengers throughout the day (Brighton main line and coastways) with 20,000 of this falling in the 9pm to 2am period – the busiest time to travel home. These numbers relate to spaces needed on board, not just seats.
Surely you deal with incidents that close the line all the time and you still manage to move people?
We do, but not on this scale and with advance knowledge of the risk.
For example, in 2018 we saw a crowd crush that led to police closing the station temporarily. A review after this specifically said Pride should only be served if an increased service could be guaranteed, which GTR has worked to do and delivered since then (in years when Pride was held).
We’re looking at a scenario with known risks that could lead to serious and preventable injury, harm or in the very worst case even fatality. We could also see thousands of people stranded and having to sleep on the streets of Brighton or beach – that just is not an acceptable risk.
Why are services on Friday and Sunday not affected?
Far less people travel on the Friday and Sunday as the main events are on the Saturday. Also the overtime ban is not in place on the Sunday. We’re confident we have enough capacity on these days, even with the overtime ban in place on Friday, following our safety review of all the options.
What happens if ASLEF call action off?
If the ASLEF overtime ban is called off, unfortunately services cannot be immediately restored to the normal timetable. Rail services are created and depend on complex and integrated systems. It therefore takes some time to get everything back into place. If this is the case, more details will follow.
What other options did you consider?
We looked at if we could run services but stop after either the community parade or Fabuloso community fundraiser in Preston Park. These options were risk assessed and discussed with the council, police and emergency services to inform our decision making. Regrettably, no solution has been found that would safely match the vast demand we’d see and that’s why we’ve made this very difficult decision to not run services.
Why couldn’t you run some services or finish early?
We simply do not have enough capacity to bring people into Brighton and then take them home safely – whether that’s earlier in the day or not. It would just create a rush for trains earlier in the day and still leave many thousands of people potentially stranded overnight.
Why can’t you put on replacement buses instead?
We have looked at this. Between us we cannot secure enough capacity to deal with the number of travellers especially at short notice. There are also significant operational challenges with road closures in the city due to Pride and the demolition of the Royal Albion Hotel.