Passengers on South Western Railway (SWR) services experienced cancellations and delays on Tuesday morning as the RMT union resumed industrial action over the role of guards.
The firm, which runs services from London Waterloo to Surrey, Hampshire and beyond, introduced a reduced timetable and advised passengers to plan their travel in advance, with services 'likely to be busier than usual because of the strike action'.
Passengers at Raynes Park unable to board an SWR train
An SWR spokesperson said: ‘The RMT has always said it wanted us to keep the guard on every train which is what we have offered as part of a framework agreement. We want to move the conversation on to how we operate our new trains and take advantage of the new technology on board to benefit our customers.
‘We remain committed to finding a solution that will help us build a better railway for everyone. We will do everything we can to keep customers moving during these strikes but would like to apologise for the disruption this unnecessary action will cause.’
However, the union said SWR had 'refused to give assurances on safe operation'.
In a statement, it said: ‘The company have not even been prepared to give assurances that their new operational model won't move to Driver Controlled Operation with the role of the guard carved up completely - a position which has undermined union confidence and sparked fears of a stitch up.
‘In addition, the company have made it quite clear in talks with the union that the protection of their profit margins is a determining factor in their future operational model - putting profits before passenger safety.’
The reduced service saw severe overcrowding on those trains that did run.
Passengers complained that SWR was using a revised timetable to avoiding paying compensation for cancellations.