South Western Railway strike: Customers warned to 'check before travelling' as strikes threaten to disrupt travel over Christmas period

RAIL users are being warned to check before they travel as services are set to be disrupted by strikes throughout December.

Thursday, 21st November 2019, 11:35 am
Updated Thursday, 21st November 2019, 6:17 pm

Members of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) will stage walk outs throughout next month and into the New Year.

The union have announced its latest round of industrial action as part of its long-running battle with South Western Railway over the future of guard roles.

Strikes will be staged over 27 days next month in a move that could cause travel chaos over the Christmas period.

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There will be 27 days of strikes in December on SWR services. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

Andy Mellors, managing director of South Western Railway, is warning rail users to check before they travel throughout December.

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He said: ‘We have a team of around 250 contingency guards as well as guards who come into work, in previous strikes this has been around one in four.

‘They will be providing our service to customers during the strike period and we will be able to run just over half of our usual services.

‘Last trains will be earlier than usual.

‘Our advice to anyone travelling during the strike period is to check our website before travelling.’

Discussing the chance that the strikes could be avoided, Mr Mellors said that SWR is ‘always open to talks with the RMT’.

He added: ‘We have had talks with them earlier this week.’

Mr Mellors revealed that SWR will be publishing a detailed timetable of the services they will be running, starting with weekdays trains, during the strike period next week.

He said: 'A strike of this level is unprecedented.

‘Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year, and we know people will be worried about how they get to work, school and other commitments like Christmas parties.

‘So we are working hard on detailed plans for the period of the strikes and we will do everything we can to keep customers moving.

‘Over the Christmas period there will also be engineering work, we have got to reflect that in our strike timetable.

‘We are doing our level best to provide the best possible service to our customers.’

Here is when RMT are planning strikes in December and January:

From 12.01am on Monday, December 2 until 11.59 on Wednesday, December 11

- From 12.01am on Friday, December 13 until 11.59pm on Tuesday, December 24 (Christmas Eve)

- From 12.01am on Friday, December 27 until 11.59pm on January 1, 2020.

Will you be affected by the strikes? Let us know in the comments below.