SOUTH Western Railway (SWR) is urging customers only to travel by rail if absolutely necessary this weekend (Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 October) due to the planned strikes.

Severe disruption is expected on the network and people should seek to travel by other means on either of those days, says the train company.

Significant parts of the network will be closed entirely on Saturday when more than 2,100 members of the RMT (Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers) union and TSSA (Transport Salaried Staff’s Association) union are set to take strike action.

This will cause severe disruption and those trains that are running will be far less frequent and much busier compared to normal, says SWR. 

Due to the impact of the strike day, customers are also urged only to travel if absolutely necessary on Sunday 2 October, when first trains will start much later than usual across the network and are likely to be very busy.   

Network Rail says it will provide contingency cover for critical roles including electrical control room operators, signallers, maintenance, and response teams, but will not be able to cover the whole day. 

SWR’s reduced timetable will run from 7.15am to 6.30pm on Saturday and will consist of two trains per hour in each direction between London Waterloo and Feltham ; two semi-fast trains per hour in each direction between London Waterloo and Basingstoke; four trains per hour in each direction between London Waterloo and Woking; and two fast trains per hour in each direction between London Waterloo and Southampton Central .

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

SWR drivers will not be involved in the planned ASLEF (Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen) strike action on Saturday and Wednesday 5 October. However, customers are advised check before they travel, as their connections with other operators might be impacted, or not run at all.   

SWR’s performance and planning director, Steve Tyler, said:  “Large parts of our network will be closed on the strike day and there will be a late start up on the morning after. Those who must travel are urged to carefully check the times of first and last trains and avoid them if possible as they are likely to be very busy. 

“We are grateful to our customers for their continued cooperation, patience, and understanding as the rail industry works to bring this damaging nationwide strike action to an end.” 

Passengers are urged to check the SWR website for latest information at