South Western Railway (SWR) is urging customers only to travel by rail if absolutely necessary on the planned strike days – Tuesday 21, Thursday 23 and Saturday 25 June – and throughout that week.
Customers should expect severe disruption and, if they have to travel, should seek to do so by other means. This comes as SWR published their strike day timetable, which will provide a very limited service on the routes Network Rail have made available. The reduced timetable will see significant parts of the network closed entirely and those trains that are running will be far less frequent compared to normal.
Network Rail and more than 2,100 SWR RMT members are set to take strike action on Tuesday 21, Thursday 23 and Saturday 25 June, causing severe disruption. Network Rail will provide contingency cover for critical roles including electrical control room operators, signallers, maintenance and response teams, but will not be able to cover the whole day.
SWR’s reduced timetable will run from 07:15 to 18:30 on the three strike days, and will consist of:
. Two semi-fast trains per hour in each direction between Waterloo and Basingstoke
. Four trains per hour in each direction between Waterloo and Woking
. Two fast trains per hour in each direction between Waterloo and Southampton
NB – Trains will not stop at all stations on these routes and there will be no SWR services across the rest of the network.
Significant disruption is also expected on Wednesday 22, Friday 24 and Sunday 26 June, when the network will not be operational before 07:30 and a Sunday level of service will operate throughout the day.
South Western Railway’s Managing Director, Claire Mann, told KeeP 106: “The sheer scale of this planned industrial action severely limits the number of trains we can run and routes we can serve, which is reflected in the reduced timetable we have published today. With this disruption set to be so considerable, I regretfully urge customers to only travel by rail if absolutely necessary between Tuesday 21 and Sunday 26 June. I am sorry these strikes will cause such disruption and am grateful to our customers for their patience and understanding as the rail industry works to bring this damaging nationwide action to an end.”
Network Rail route director Mark Killick said: “We’re so sorry for the disruption next week and we know how difficult this will be for our customers so soon after the pandemic. We’ve trained 250 staff so we can keep some of the busiest lines open, focussing our resources on the routes that can keep the largest numbers of customers and freight moving and serving vital locations such as hospitals. That said, we will not compromise on safety and the strike does mean that large parts of the network will be closed. We are continuing to work with unions to find a solution and will keep doing so. But we also have to be honest and accept that we have to change the way we work, to reflect the changes in society and travel patterns post pandemic. Again, I’d like to apologise to everyone who find their journeys disrupted next week and urge our customers to check before they travel.”
Customers are urged to check the SWR website for latest information at www.southwesternrailway.com/strike