South Western Railway strike: passengers complain of ‘chronic overcrowding’ in trains on day three of strike

Commuters are facing a fresh bout of travel chaos as the third day of South Western Railway (SWR) staff’s strike over the role of train guards gets underway.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union on SWR launched a five-day walkout on Tuesday, causing misery for tens of thousands of travellers, including commuters into London Waterloo station.

Thursday morning began with renewed frustration for rail passengers, as they complained of cancelled trains or “chronic overcrowding”.

Images shared on social media show packed carriages on the services that were still running on commuter routes into central London.

Commuters packed together on the 7.46am service between Woking and Waterloo. (@DanielP95084656)

“It is days like today that remind me why I hate trains and prefer buses,” tweeted one fed-up commuter during the morning rush-hour.

“Waiting 45 minutes for a @SW_Railway that should be at least every 15m grrrr time to #nationalise the railways again perhaps.”

Up to half of SWR’s services have been affected by the industrial action, with buses again replacing trains on some routes.

However, not all replacement services appear to be running smoothly.

One Twitter user travelling to Teddington, south-west London complained: “@SW_Railway What’s the point in a rail replacement bus service if they don’t turn up? No trains near me and now no bus?!” 

It comes as the RMT prepares a ballot for further strike action. This time, among thousands of London Underground workers in a dispute over spending cuts and privatisation.

The union will stage a protest outside City Hall on Thursday against London Underground’s so-called “transformation programme”.

The Central Line strike earlier this month caused chaos outside Liverpool Street station (Alex Lentati )

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Staff across London Underground are furious at the attempts to smuggle in a creeping programme of cuts and privatisation under the cloak of the transformation programme.

“RMT will not stand back while jobs and safety are carved up and services like waste collection are knocked out to the cheapest bidder. If we have to strike to stop these attacks then that is exactly what we will do.”

Sean McKee of the London Chamber of Commerce said: “Underground and rail services are vital lifelines of the London economy and strikes have a hugely detrimental impact.

“Businesses, commuters and visitors to the capital will be both angered and frustrated by this strike action and will be fearful of the threat of further action on both rail and underground networks.”


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