The first Gatwick Express service to use brand new 12-carriage trains was run with no passengers onboard
A GATWICK Express driver refused to pick up passengers on an early morning service on Saturday in a row over the introduction of longer trains with no conductors.
A fleet of 27 new 12-carriage Gatwick Express trains are due to be formally introduced on Monday and a soft launch was held on Saturday.
But the driver of the 5.30am service from London Victoria to Gatwick Airport - the very first service using the new trains - made the journey with no passengers onboard after refusing to open the doors and pick anyone up. The return journey was also empty.
While Gatwick Express trains have been operated without a conductor for some time, drivers' union ASLEF is opposed to the introduction of longer trains without conductors.
This is because, since agreeing to drivers operating trains without conductors, the union changed its policy to oppose any extension of this, as it does not feel that having no conductors is a safe way to operate trains.
Its main gripe is that it says the union hasn't been consulted on the plans.
The driver on Saturday initially refused to drive the new 12-carriage train at all so the service had to be cancelled.
Around 30 passengers are understood to have had to get the 5.45am service instead but the driver of the 5.30am train then operated the service empty, driving the brand new train to Gatwick and back on his own.