A lengthy strike in the dispute over guards on trains enters its final week on Monday, causing continued travel misery for passengers, including those attending New Year’s Eve events.
Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union on South Western Railway have been on strike since the start of the month, with industrial action continuing until New Year’s Day.
Picket lines will again be mounted outside stations across the SWR network, and the action will cause huge disruption for commuters travelling to London Waterloo, shoppers, and those going to New Year’s Eve celebrations.
Many services will again be cancelled or replaced by buses and those that do run will be busier than normal.
The dispute over the role of guards remains deadlocked more than two years since it flared up.
The disruption has been compounded by weekend engineering and maintenance work this month which caused a number of line closures.
SWR said many services on New Year’s Eve will finish earlier than normal, with no post-midnight mainline trains running beyond Basingstoke or Guildford.
An amended timetable will continue to run on January 2 and 3 even though the strike will be over by then.
The company said it wanted to ensure that guards who were on strike were “properly refreshed” in terms of necessary safety activities.
Engineering work is also taking place over the weekend of January 4/5, so a new timetable will not start in earnest until January 6.
SWR said the new timetable will help to provide 80 additional services a week, with “improved journey opportunities” across its network.
The RMT says the dispute now centres on whether guards should have a few seconds to make sure trains leave platforms safely.
SWR says further talks must be on the proviso that the union has a “new solution” to safely delivering over 10 million more peak time passenger journeys on time a year.
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