As a staple rail service at one of the busiest stations, London Waterloo, South Western Railway (SWR) is relied on by over 600,000 passengers travelling to work – many of which have decided to stay at home amid the strikes.

Frustration continues to mount as the month-long strike over the position of guards on SWR begins – according to the BBC the strike is in ‘defence of passenger safety’. The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) wishes to be involved in the despatch process as well as hold more responsibility for passengers’ safety. Speaking to the BBC, managing director Andy Mellors says “our proposals will make guards more customer-facing and improve safety, security and accessibility.”

The RMT union believes the company’s new proposals will leave guards as “glorified porters” without safety responsibilities. As such they are continuing with strike action for 27 days this December, excluding the General Election on December 12th, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

The dispute means that commuters are being forced to endure cancellations, delays and long queues and the services that are running are severely overcrowded and uncomfortable. So far, it is believed that only half the services are due to run and understandably, paying passengers have become increasingly frustrated with SWR.

SWR have provided alternative timetables for services due to run between 2nd and 20th December, whilst the timetable for the Christmas week will see services finish earlier.

To make matters worse – it was announced earlier this year that commuters will face a 2.8 per cent increase in fares, which will likely add more than £100 to long-distance season tickets. Commuters will have to put up with price inflation in the New Year with the potential for strikes to continue and no improvement to current services.

What should I do if I am due to travel on SWR?

The strikes are due to continue over the coming weeks, so it is important that you arrange alternative transport if you are due to travel on SWR. Plan your journey using another railway service, or alternatively you could look at taxi’s or asking friends and family members to take you.

If you have pre-booked tickets and no longer want to travel because of the disruptions you can apply for a refund within 28 days of the ticket’s expiry date. Find more information on the South Western Railway website.

How might this affect me over the Christmas period?

You may have booked a holiday over the Christmas period and are due to travel to the airport by train – if this is the case, check for any alternative transport you can use to avoid delays and cancellations. Leave plenty of time for further travel disruptions.

If you are delayed by 15 minutes or more due to the industrial action – SWR will provide you with compensation as part of their Delay Repay scheme.