South Western Railway sets out reduced service levels from 18 December to 2 January due to RMT overtime ban

Published: 21 December 2022

South Western Railway sets out reduced service levels from 18 December to 2 January due to RMT overtime ban

  • SWR will be operating a reduced or severely reduced service between 0700 and 2200 only, with some parts of the network closed for either the whole period or on certain days
  • Customers are advised to check their entire journey before they travel throughout the industrial action period
  • Only travel if absolutely necessary on:
  • Sunday 18 December, services will be severely reduced, with large parts of the network closed
  • Christmas Eve, the network will close by 1500, with last trains departing as early as midday
  • 27 December, no services will operate before midday, with many starting much later

SOUTH Western Railway (SWR) is urging customers to check before they travel and expect disruption from Sunday 18 December to Monday 2 January due to industrial action by members of the RMT and TSSA unions during this period.

This action includes a ban on RMT members working overtime or on rest days and affects people in a variety of roles, including guards on trains as well as dispatchers on platforms and shunters in our depots. This means that SWR’s ability to operate train services is significantly limited throughout the extended period of industrial action.

On some dates across this period there are also major engineering works taking place which further complicates the planning of services.

Due to the knock-on impact of RMT strike action and long-planned engineering works, customers are urged to only travel if absolutely necessary on 18 December. There will be a severely reduced service on a very limited number of routes, from 0700 to 2200 only, consisting of:

  • Four trains per hour in each direction between London Waterloo and Woking
  • Two trains per hour in each direction between London Waterloo and Basingstoke
  • Two trains per hour in each direction between London Waterloo and Southampton Central
  • One train per hour between Basingstoke and Salisbury

Trains will not stop at all the stations on some of these routes. There will be no SWR services across the rest of the network on 18 December.

Due to strike action affecting Network Rail, limiting the infrastructure available to SWR to run services, customers are also urged to only travel if absolutely necessary on 24 and 27 December.

On 24 December (Christmas Eve), there will be a reduced service with an early shutdown. Some last services from London Waterloo will leave as early as midday, with all services finished and trains taken out of service by 1500. On 27 December, there will be a late start-up from around 1200 followed by a reduced service.

Customers who have no choice but to travel should check the SWR website to see which services are running on these days.

For the rest of the industrial action period, from 19 to 23 December and from 28 December to 2 January, SWR will run a reduced service from 0700 to 2200 only and customers should check their whole journey before they travel, as some parts of the network will be closed.

South Western Railway’s Performance and Planning Director, Steve Tyler, said:

“We are very sorry that the RMT overtime ban will severely disrupt our customers travel plans throughout the Christmas period and into the New Year.

“While not a strike, the overtime ban limits the number of trains we can get into service each day and we have had to make some difficult decisions to be able to provide a reliable and consistent service throughout the period.

“We are urging customers to check their entire journey before setting off and thank them for their patience and cooperation during this damaging industrial action by the RMT.”

In addition, the RMT has announced that its members at Network Rail and train operating companies including SWR will be taking strike action on 3, 4, 6, and 7 January 2023.

SWR will update customers once it has confirmed what service levels it can provide during this period.

Summary of SWR travel advice from 18 December to 2 January:

  • Sunday 18 December – only travel if absolutely necessary
  • Monday 19 to Friday 23 December – check before you travel
  • Saturday 24 December – only travel if absolutely necessary
  • Sunday 25 and Monday 26 December – no service
  • Tuesday 27 December – only travel if absolutely necessary
  • Wednesday 28 to Monday 2 January – check before you travel

Customers are urged to check the SWR website for the latest travel advice for each day of the industrial action at: www.southwesternrailway.com/strike

Notes to editors

Maps are available below the service levels during the industrial action period.

There will be no service on Christmas Day and Boxing Day as normal. Network Rail will be carrying out its usual programme of important major engineering work and upgrades over these dates, taking advantage of the lack of services running.

The Island Line will have a normal service during this period.

Summary of services on 24 and 27 December:

  • Four trains per hour in each direction between London Waterloo and Woking
  • Two trains per hour in each direction between London Waterloo and Basingstoke
  • Two trains per hour in each direction between London Waterloo and Southampton Central
  • Four trains per hour in each direction between London Waterloo and Windsor & Eton Riverside
  • One train per hour in each direction between Woking and Portsmouth Harbour (24 December only)
  • One shuttle train per hour in each direction between Eastleigh and Portsmouth Harbour (24 December only)
  • One train per hour in each direction between Southampton Central and Weymouth
  • One train every two hours in each direction alternating between Basingstoke and Salisbury and Basingstoke and Exeter St Davids

Trains will not stop at all the stations on some of these routes.

Summary of services on 19 to 23 December and 28 December to 2 January, all the routes listed above plus:

  • Two trains per hour in each direction between London Waterloo and Reading via Twickenham
  • One train per hour in each direction between London Waterloo and Shepperton
  • Two trains per hour in each direction between London Waterloo and Guildford via Leatherhead
  • Some peak time services in each direction between London Waterloo and Alton

Trains will not stop at all the stations on some of these routes.