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SWR Announces December Train Strike Service Levels, No Services Again at Guildford

Published on: 8 Dec, 2022
Updated on: 9 Dec, 2022

South Western Railway (SWR) is urging customers to only travel if absolutely necessary from Tuesday, December 13 to Sunday, December 18 due to the planned national RMT industrial action.

Once again there will be no SWR services from Guildford station. The nearest rail services available will be at Woking where there will be four trains per hour from 07.15 to 18.30 on the strike days, in each direction between London Waterloo and Woking, as well as services to Basingstoke and Southampton.

Members of the RMT at Network Rail are set to take strike action on December 13, 14, 16, and 17, significantly limiting the rail infrastructure available to run services. More than 2,100 SWR members of the union will join the strike action.

In a press release, a SWR spokesperson said: “Customers should expect severe disruption on strike days. Significant parts of the SWR network will be closed entirely and those trains that are running will be far less frequent and much busier compared to normal.

“On Thursday, December 15 and Sunday, December 18, the knock-on impact of the strike days means first trains will start much later than usual across the network and are likely to be very busy – customers are asked to avoid these days if they can.”

In addition, the RMT has announced that its members at SWR and other train operating companies have been instructed not to book on for any overtime from Sunday, December 18 to Monday, January 2. SWR will update customers once it has confirmed what service levels it can provide during this period.

RMT’s general secretary has told Sky News the government are sabotaging negotiations with trade unions over upcoming rail strikes. Mick Lynch said the unions are being made out to be ‘the bogeymen’ by Rishi Sunak, who he believes ‘gave in to backbenchers who want this strike action to go ahead’.

Speaking in the boardroom of the RMT’s Euston headquarters on Thursday, Lynch said the Department for Transport was “not trusted in Whitehall” and that other ministers had sought to block a resolution. “There’s always a back-seat driver, and then there’s someone sitting behind the back-seat driver, that’s the problem.

South Western Railway’s Performance and Planning Director, Steve Tyler, said: “We appreciate that customers will be eager to enjoy the festive season, so we’re really sorry that we must urge them to only travel by rail if absolutely necessary from Tuesday 13 December to Sunday 18 December.

“The nationwide strike action means we can only operate a severely reduced timetable from 07:15 to 18:30 only, with much of the network closed entirely.

“The strike period will be followed by two weeks of further disruption on the network, as the RMT has instructed their members not to book any overtime until 2 January.

“After months of damaging strike action, we are grateful to our customers for their continued cooperation, patience, and understanding as the rail industry works to bring this dispute to an end.”

Customers can check the SWR website for latest information here.

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