1. ITV Report

South Western Railway reveals new £895m carriages amid pending strike action

Rail passengers face travel chaos in the run-up to Christmas, as union bosses confirm they will go ahead with 27 days of strikes on South Western Railway.

It comes as SWR reveals the first of 750 brand new carriages that are being built, worth £895 million, which are the focus of the long-running dispute.

The industrial action begins on the 2nd of December.

Many of the new carriages are still being built. Credit: ITV News Meridian

The strike dates are as follows:

  • 00:01 on Monday 2nd December 2019 until 23:59 on Wednesday 11th December
  • 00:01 on Friday 13th December until 23:59 on Tuesday 24th December 2019
  • 00:01 on Friday 27th December 2019 until 23:59 on the 1st January 2020

Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary

The Rail Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) says no more talks are in the pipeline.

South Western Railway says it is committed to finding a solution to the dispute and it will do everything it can to keep customers moving during the strike.

The trains, which are designed to cut overcrowding, are a year behind schedule, but it is hoped they will be released by next summer.

Ninety new Class 701 trains will come into service operating on the Windsor, Reading and West London suburban routes.

A sneak preview inside the new SWR carriages. Credit: ITV News Meridian

The strike action called is well and truly down to SWR’s mismanagement and disingenuous position on the agreement and discussions.

“This dispute could easily be resolved if management started taking discussions seriously. SWR are once again showing their true colours, leading the union to believe we almost had a deal before pulling the rug from under our feet.

“We still have not received anything from the company and they have made no attempt whatsoever to reach an agreement. These strikes could have easily been avoided if the company had stuck to their agreements, corresponded with RMT and offered further discussions.

“I want to congratulate our members on their continued resolve in their fight for safety and the role of the guard on SWR. It is wholly down to the management side that the core issue of the safety critical competencies and the role of the guard has not been agreed.

“The union remains available for talks.”

– Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary