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South Western Railway confirms month of strikes over Christmas period – what you need to know

South Western Railway confirms month of strikes over Christmas period – what you need to know

A near month-long strike by South Western Railway workers is set to go ahead from Monday 2 December – if you're affected, here's what you need to know.

South Western Railway (SWR) runs services to and from London Waterloo, the country's busiest station, so the strikes are likely to result in disruption to commuters and Christmas shoppers.

SWR says it will run a reduced service on weekdays until Friday 20 December, but expects to run more than half of its usual trains. However, it will run services as usual on the day of the general election, Thursday 12 December.

It says it's still planning services for weekends and between Monday 23 December and Wednesday 1 January, when the strike will end, but that customers should check its website for updates.

How will the strike affect my journey?

The strike – over the role of guards on trains – will see SWR run a reduced service on its network on Monday to Friday, from Monday 2 December until Friday 20 December.

It says some routes will not have a train service or will have a replacement bus service instead, and services will finish earlier than normal at about 11pm.

It also says that peak services will be much busier than normal and it may have to introduce queuing at a number of busy stations.

Details on particular routes can be found on the SWR website, but it points out that information may change at short notice.

Can I claim compensation?

If you travel during the strike and experience a delay of 15 minutes or more to your journey against the amended timetable (due to be published early next week), you are eligible to claim through SWR's 'Delay Repay' scheme.

Compensation works as follows:

  • Delay of 15-29 minutes – 25% of the cost of a single ticket, 25% of the cost of a delayed season ticket journey, 12.5% of the cost of a return.

  • Delay of 30-59 minutes  50% of the cost of a single ticket, 50% of the cost of a delayed season ticket journey, 25% of the cost of a return.

  • Delay of 60-119 minutes – 100% of the cost of a single ticket, 100% of the cost of a delayed season ticket journey, 50% of the cost of a return.

  • Delay of 120 minutes or more – 100% of the cost of a ticket, whether single, return or season ticket.

If you have an anytime, off-peak, super off-peak or advance ticket and your train is cancelled or delayed and you decide not to travel, you will be entitled to a full refund. See SWR's refund page for more information.

Can I use my ticket on another operator's service?

SWR says that it has arranged for tickets to be used at no extra cost on some other train companies and bus routes while the industrial action takes place. Full lists can be found on the SWR website.

SWR also says that if you hold a monthly or longer season ticket, it may be used from/to another station on the same line of route as the original ticket. This only applies to SWR services.

What does South Western Railway say?

An SWR spokesperson said the company was disappointed that talks had broken down with the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT).

He added: "We remain committed to finding a solution that works for our customers and we remain open to talks if the RMT decides to reconsider its position.

"In the meantime, our focus has to be on planning and delivering a train service for our customers."