East Devon rail travellers face more strike misery

The SWR logo

The SWR logo - Credit: Archant

But train company promises to run more than 60 per cent of its usual services during the Union action

Axminster Railway Station. Picture: CHRIS CARSON

Axminster Railway Station. Picture: CHRIS CARSON - Credit: Archant

South Western Railway has pledged to run more than 60 per cent of its normal train services on the two days that the RMT union has instructed its Guards members to strike.

The action will affect services on Wednesday and Thursday, November 8 and 9.

SWR says contingency plans are in place to run as many services as possible. There will also be rail replacement bus services on some routes to help passengers.

Managing director Andy Mellors said: “We plan to run around two thirds of our regular timetabled services which will deliver around 70 per cent of the seats we normally provide across the morning and evening peak hours into London.

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“However, we are sorry that many of our passengers will find trains much busier than normal and that, in some places, replacement bus services will run instead of trains on the strike date called by the RMT.

“This strike is unnecessary. We have repeatedly assured the RMT that we plan to keep two safety-trained employees on our trains. This is because we know that a second member of staff provides assurance to our passengers and ensures we have capable colleagues on board to deliver assistance or offer advice during journeys.

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“No one will lose their job. We have been very clear that we are guaranteeing the jobs, salaries and terms and conditions of Guards. In fact, as we expand our fleet, we will be hiring more drivers and guards to help deliver more and better services for passengers.”

A rail replacement bus service will operate between Yeovil Junction and Exeter St Davids during the strike.

Full details on the timetable and rail replacement bus services can be viewed at: https://www.southwesternrailway.com/plan-my-journey/rmt-strike

RMT boss Mick Cash told The Herald: “RMT remains deeply concerned that SWR are prepared to cut corners on safety in order to run trains with staff who are ill-equipped to carry out the full range of functions of the guard.

“Instead of resorting to these desperate and risky measures SWR should be round the table with the RMT working out a solution to this dispute which underpins the guarantee of a guard on their trains.”

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