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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Josh Salisbury

South Western Railway cut weekend services over ‘driver and guards shortage’

Rail passengers are being warned of travel chaos this weekend after a train company said it was cutting services over a shortage of drivers.

South Western Railway, which is already running a reduced schedule because of industrial action by the Aslef union, said further reductions were being made on Saturday and that short-notice cancellations were possible.

Those travelling to the England v Wales rugby fixture at Twickenham, the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup event at Ascot and the Boomtown festival in Winchester are being warned to expect disruption.

South Western Railway said the move was necessary because of a “shortage of drivers and guards”.

The company’s chief operating officer Stuart Meek said: “I am very sorry to say that we will need to make further reductions to our timetable on Saturday 12 August, which was already reduced due to action short of a strike by members of the ASLEF union.

“Services will be further reduced across the whole of the SWR network tomorrow and short-notice cancellations are also possible. Customers should double check before travelling, with journey planners being updated with the latest information overnight.

“Customers travelling to one of the many events on our network tomorrow should allow as much time as possible to complete their journeys. Once again I am very sorry for the disruption.”

Earlier this week, Alef said it had continued support from drivers for ongoing industrial action over pay and conditions in new ballots.

Mick Whelan, general secretary of Aslef, said: “The results of these new ballots show the determination of our members to win this dispute.

“That’s why I am calling on the train companies, and the Government that stands behind them, to do the right thing and return to the negotiating table with a new offer and prevent more disruption to passengers and businesses in Britain."

Aslef members at Chiltern, East Midlands, Northern and TransPennine voted in favour of continuing with strikes after being re-balloted after six months under employment law.

Drivers at c2c were balloted for the first time and also voted heavily in favour.

Drivers at freight operating company Direct Rail Services also voted in favour of industrial action in a separate dispute over pay.

London Underground drivers also backed industrial action in a reballot in another dispute over pay, pensions and conditions.

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