South Western Railway has urged people only to travel by rail “if absolutely necessary” both today and tomorrow due to strike action.

Those travelling via South Western this weekend should “seek to do so by other means” as the company warns that customers should expect severe disruption to the network.

The London Marathon takes place tomorrow on Sunday, October 2 and South Western Railway is advising those attending to check before you travel.

More than 2,100 SWR members of the RMT union and South Western Railway members of the TSSA union are taking part in strike action today.

Significant parts of the network are closed entirely and those trains that are running are less frequent and expected to be busier than normal.

Due to the aftermath of strikes today, South Western has warned that the first trains will start later than usual across the network tomorrow and are likely to be very busy.

South Western Railway has said that these late starts are because of "the challenges of getting trains and people in the right place to operate".

South Western Railway’s Performance and Planning Director, Steve Tyler, said: “I’m sorry that due to strike action we must urge our customers to only travel if absolutely necessary on Saturday 1 October and Sunday 2 October.

“Those needing to travel should seek to do so by other means.

“Large parts of our network will be closed on the strike day and there will be a late start up on the morning after.

“Those who must travel are urged to carefully check the times of first and last trains and avoid them if possible as they are likely to be very busy.

“We are grateful to our customers for their continued cooperation, patience, and understanding as the rail industry works to bring this damaging nationwide strike action to an end.”

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch, speaking from a picket line at Euston station on Saturday, was pressed on how the union would “justify” causing disruption to a “major charity event” such as the London Marathon.

He told BBC Breakfast that union members did not want to cause the public difficulties and said it was the Tory party conference that was being targeted, rather than the marathon.

When asked whether he would apologise to the public, he said: “Absolutely. We don’t want to inconvenience the public and we’re really sorry that that’s happening.

“But the Government has brought this dispute on. They (put) the challenges down to us, to cut our jobs, to cut our pensions and to cut our wages against inflation.”

“Whenever we put strikes on it’s going to inconvenience people. We don’t want to do that, we’d much rather have a settlement, we’d much rather get out of this dispute so our members can (provide) the service." 

Check the SWR website for latest information here.

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