Rail strike could hit Lewes bonfire celebrations
Disruptions caused as a result of Southern Railway strike action could deter thousands of people from descending on an East Sussex town renowned for its bonfire night celebrations.
The Lewes Bonfire Night unites the town's seven bonfire societies for the November 5 event and typically sees tens of thousands of visitors make their way to the town to join in the festivities.
About 30,000 people took part in the celebration last year, with about half that number commuting by train, a Sussex Police spokeswoman said.
But numbers are expected to decrease significantly for the 2016 event with no trains stopping at Lewes or some neighbouring stations after midday.
It comes as members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union undertake 48-hour strike action in an ongoing dispute about the role of conductors.
Southern blamed the need to ensure public safety, saying it would not be able to operate any rail or replacement bus services to the Lewes area from Saturday afternoon.
It condemned the latest stoppage as "spiteful and vindictive" and warned of disruption to services even though it planned to run more trains than during previous strikes.
More action is planned in the coming weeks, and the union has escalated the row by calling strikes over Christmas and the New Year.