As you may know, the RMT union has announced its intention to hold strikes on South Western Railway on 8 and 9 November which would affect train services in our constituency.
It is deeply concerning that passengers will be potentially inconvenienced in this way, especially at a time when train operators are working hard to deliver better services for its customers. Many constituents got in touch with me during the recent industrial action on Southern Rail when there was significant disruption for people getting to work, school and important appointments over many months and I share concerns that this disruption will now affect even more passengers locally.
I met the Managing Director of South Western Railway (SWR), Andy Mellors, to discuss what contingency plans are in place to help ensure people can still get to work. More generally, there is significant investment worth £1.2 billion now coming through that will improve capacity and frequency on our busy services into Waterloo. This will see new trains that have District line style ‘walk through’ carriages and a more frequent service, including at weekends. He is hopeful that talks will continue with the RMT that will facilitate a way forward and the cancellation of the strike. However, in the event of industrial action, SWR have confirmed that they have trained a team of contingency guards from within their workforce who will provide passengers with the best service possible and you can find a contingency timetable for 8 and 9 November which will see them run about two thirds of their normal train service at https://www.southwesternrailway.com/plan-my-journey/rmt/strike.
I am continuing to keep in touch with SWR and will keep you updated with any further developments.