TALKS to avert rail strikes which are set to cause disruption to South Western Railway services next week have stalled.

Members of the Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union will walk out on Monday, Wednesday and Friday after discussions on the future of the role of guards ended without a breakthrough today (Thursday).

But South Western Railway said it will run around 1,350 services on strike days, with most running between 7am and 7pm.

Trains are expected to be extremely busy, said the company, adding that passengers should allow more time for journeys.

The RMT said it was prepared to discuss operational models already established in Scotland and Wales but accused Arriva of refusing "point blank" to enter into serious negotiations.

General secretary Mick Cash added that the union’s members are “angry and frustrated” that yet again a “genuine opportunity” to make progress have been halted.

South Western Railway stated it will be able to lengthen trains in some areas and that there will also be rail replacement bus services on some routes and ticket acceptance agreements with other train companies.

Managing director Andy Mellors said: “We are sorry that our passengers will once again suffer due to this unnecessary strike action called by the RMT executive. Our passengers just want to get to work in the morning and back home on time in the evening to see family and friends.

“We have repeatedly guaranteed that no one will lose their job and that we will roster a second person on board every train, however what we have been trying to talk to the RMT about is what happens if a guard is unavailable at short notice, perhaps due to illness or disruption; and how we might keep passengers moving rather than leave them stranded.

”We are determined to provide the best possible service to our customers during next week’s strikes and will run more than 70 per cent of our normal weekday service. We will operate more and longer trains than on the previous weekday strikes called by the RMT.”

To find out which services are affected go to: