COMMUTERS are urged to travel by train if “absolutely necessary” this week as rail strikes are set to take place.

South Western Railway said customers should expect severe disruption and should find other travel options.

Network Rail and more than 2,100 SWR RMT members are set to take strike action on Tuesday, June 21, Thursday, June 23, and Saturday, June 25.

Reduced train timetables will be running throughout the week because of this.

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Disruption is also expected on June 22, June 24 and June 26 when the network will not operate before 7.30am and a Sunday level of service will operate throughout the day.  

Customers are encouraged to check their journey before they travel this week.


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 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.” 

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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.”