A 48-hour strike by the RMT rail union hit the embattled South Western Railway (SWR) line tomorrow amid the long-running dispute over the role of guards.
SWR operates services out of Waterloo and Clapham Junction to places in the south such as Southampton, Reading, Bournemouth and Portsmouth.
The operator said it plans to run nearly two thirds of regular services on Friday and around half of normal services on Saturday. It said there would be replacement bus services on some routes and tickets would be accepted on some other bus and rail companies.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Our members on South Western Railway remain absolutely united and determined in the fight to defend safety, security and access on the railway despite cynical and repeated attempts by the company to undermine the morale of their own workforce.
“The company has continued to fail to provide any offer that comes close to resolving this dispute and their latest attempts at delaying talks have left us feeling angry and frustrated.
“That is the package we have successfully negotiated in both Wales and Scotland and on a number of English franchises. It defies belief that we are being denied the same positive outcome on the South Western Railway routes.
An SWR spokesperson said: “We are sorry that the RMT has yet again decided to disrupt customers’ journeys this coming Friday and Saturday.
“Our train planners, together with our contingency guards from across the company, as well as those guards who usually work on strike days, will ensure we provide as many services as possible for our customers.
“We continue to call on the RMT to talk to us rather than strike, so that we can provide the best service possible for our customers.”