Chaos at Surbiton station as Berrylands closes due to RMT strikes

Commuters endured crowded carriages and delayed trains last week as Berrylands station closed in response to the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) strikes.

The closure of the station meant that commuters who usually use Berrylands were forced to use Surbiton station instead, causing massive crowds.

“The trains were very overcrowded and my train was delayed. I was quite late for work this morning,” said 36-year-old David Pearce, who works as a lawyer in Kingston.

The strike has caused problems to many South Western Railway (SWR) routes, but London was one of the most severely affected areas.

Waterloo suffered from particularly heavy crowds and many cancelled trains. Other London routes, including those passing through Surbiton, suffered from a reduced SWR service.

The strikes were a result of a long-running dispute between RMT and SWR over the use of a driver-only operation (DOO) on trains, whereby the driver controls the train’s doors instead of a guard.

RMT argues that this is not safe since fewer guards would be present on trains, but SWR believes that it will cause less disruption to services and prevent cancellations if no guard was available.

In response to the strikes, an SWR spokesperson said: “The RMT cynically targeted hard-working commuters and families trying to enjoy the half-term holidays and sports fans with its latest strikes.

“In the meantime, our priority is our passengers – we have done everything we could to keep our customers moving and reduce disruption during these unnecessary strikes.”

Further strikes are set for November 3, 10, 17 and 24, and there is the possibility of more in the run-up to Christmas.

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