Are Southern, GWR and South Western Railway bus replacement services running on rail strike days?

Three major rail companies that operate in Surrey said they are unable to run bus replacement services during the upcoming rail strikes. The three-day walkout by members of RMT union is set to cause travel chaos for passengers throughout the country.

Some 50,000 workers are set to strike in a dispute over pay and work conditions. This will be the biggest national walkout of rail workers for more than 20 years and train lines, including Great Western Railway (GWR), South Western Rail (SWR) and Southern, will be hit hard – as will millions of passengers who use trains each day.

The strikes across the UK are set to take place over these days:

  • Tuesday, June 21
  • Thursday, June 23
  • Saturday, June 25

READ MORE: Can I get to the Gatwick and Heathrow airports for my flight during the rail strikes?

A spokesperson for SWR told us: “There will not be any replacement bus services on the days of strike action as, given the scale of the industrial action across Network Rail and most train operators, it is impossible to provide sufficient replacement services to cover demand.” While Southern commented: “There won’t be any replacement buses running across this period of industrial action because there simply aren’t enough available to replace the train service.”

GWR also told us that it is unable to offer bus replacement services. The company went on to warn passengers to expect severe disruption during next week’s rail strikes as the rail company announced only 30% of its services will operate during strike days. GWR said only to travel on those days if necessary.

GWR said it will operate as many trains as possible during the strike action and that its services in between strike days will also be affected. The company normally has trains running through major Surrey hub Guildford and stretching east through Dorking West to Redhill and Gatwick Airport. On strike days the operator is aiming to provide about 30% of its usual timetabled services and around 50% on non-strike days.

GWR managing director Mark Hopwood said: “We very much welcome the opportunity to continue to talk with the RMT to avert strike action. Any strike will impact on customers’ journeys and can only damage the post-Covid recovery everyone at GWR has been working to win back, while at the same time making it more difficult to deliver the changes we need to secure jobs and services for the future.

“I’m hopeful the RMT will step back, however colleagues have been working hard to put contingency plans in place and give certainty to customers who need to travel. The priority will be to keep trains running and customers moving safely, but changes will be needed to allow that to happen and customers may wish to alter their plans.”

Can I claim a refund for GWR tickets?

Customers who have already bought tickets can claim a full refund or can amend them. Passengers whose travel is delayed may be entitled to delay repay compensation if they are delayed by 15 mins or more.

Any season ticket holders can apply for compensation through GWR’s Delay Repay scheme. GWR is allowing people with tickets for travel on strike days to be able to travel on the day before and up to two days after.

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