The ASLEF union has announced Southern Railway drivers have voted by four to one to accept a deal to end the long-running dispute over driver operated trains.

Members had previously rejected two other proposals.

It follows more than a year of strike action on Southern Rail trains, affecting hundreds of thousands of passengers.

Turnout for the vote was 87.1 per cent, with more than 79 per cent accepting the deal – which includes a 28.5 per cent pay rise over the next five years.

Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF:

“Our members on Southern, after careful consideration, and long and hard negotiations, have voted to accept this resolution to our industrial dispute with the company.

“We are pleased with a resolution which, we believe, works for the staff, and the company, and we now look forward to working with Southern Rail to restore good industrial relations and deliver the service passengers in the region deserve.

“The agreement means we will have a second safety-trained person on every train covered by this agreement except in exceptional circumstances.

“That person will have all the relevant safety competence – including the skills to evacuate passengers in an emergency.

“The agreement also confirms the terms and conditions under which our members at Southern are employed.

“And the agreement gives our drivers the security of a five-year pay deal, which covers the October 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 pay settlements, through to the end of the franchise.”

Nick Brown, chief operating officer of Southern’s owners Govia Thameslink Railway, said:

“This dispute has been difficult for our passengers in particular and we are pleased that we can now move ahead and deliver stability by finally concluding this deal with Aslef.

“Our trains will be planned to have a second person on board and this has been the arrangement we have operated over the last year.

“More on-train staff are on more trains with more passengers than ever before.

“The on-board service concept has been welcomed by our passengers across the board.

“Should, in certain circumstances, a train not have that second person on board then it will still be able to run until a replacement can be provided.

“Avoiding cancellations is key to us delivering a resilient and reliable service across the busiest and most congested part of the UK rail network.”

Southern still has an ongoing separate dispute with the RMT union in a row over the role of guards, with strike action taking place today (Wednesday, 8) and tomorrow (Thursday, 9).