Buses replace trains from Honiton to Exeter as four-day strike action begins

Buses will be running in place of some trains between Honiton and Exeter during strike action by members of the RMT union.

Four days of action started today, part of an ongoing dispute over the future role of guards on trains.

An hourly bus service is running in place of trains, as of early this morning (August 30). A reduced train service will run between Salisbury and Exeter Central, with trains starting later and finishing earlier than usual. Trains will not stop at Feniton, Whimple, or Exeter St David’s.

South Western Railway says: “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.

“During strike action, while services are likely be busier than usual, we will do everything we can to keep customers moving. We will be running just over half our normal timetabled service over the course of the four days and have rail replacement services and ticket acceptance in place on other transport providers wherever possible.

“We will also look for opportunities to introduce extra services each day to help keep our customers moving so recommend checking the SWR app for the latest travel information.”

The RMT said: “On the eve of South Western guards taking four days of strike action to defend safety, it has been revealed the company is set to receive at least a £32m strike bailout from the taxpayer for strike action taken to date, meaning they will be paid by the Government even when they have not run trains on strike days.”

The union’s general secretary, Mick Cash, said: “Passengers will be outraged to know that South Western Railway will be paid by Ministers even when they don’t run trains on strike days.

“Despite repeated ministerial cover-ups rail bosses are now openly bragging that they will be receiving a taxpayer funded strike bailout, which we estimate to be £32m to date or the equivalent of a 3.4 per cent annual fare cut for South Western passengers.

“Thanks to the generosity of the government, South Western Railway don’t lose a penny from strikes and therefore have little incentive to negotiate seriously.”

Further information about how the industrial action will impact local train services is available here.

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