Severe travel disruption expected during South Western Railway strike action


DUE to the planned national strike, South Western Railway (SWR) customers are urged only to travel by rail if absolutely necessary between June 21 and 26.

SWR will run a severely reduced timetable on strike days of June 21, 23 and 25, with significant parts of the network closed during this period. Axminster station is expected to be heavily affected.

A severely limited service will run between 7.15am and 6.30pm on some routes for those who have no choice but to travel.

This will include:

  • Four trains per hour in each direction between Waterloo and Windsor via Hounslow
  • 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

There will be no SWR services across the rest of the network.

A late-starting Sunday level of service will be running across the network on June 22, 24 and 26.

Customers should expect severe disruption and, if they have to travel, should seek to do so by other means.

Network Rail and more than 2,100 SWR RMT members are set to take strike action, 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.

South Western Railway’s managing director, Claire Mann, said: “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, June 21 and Sunday 26.

“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 added: “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

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