A five-day strike by South Western Railway employees could cause plenty of travel trouble to Royal Ascot racegoers next week.
Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) are set to walk out over ongoing conflicts regarding the roles of train guards between Tuesday and Saturday - the five days Royal Ascot is traditionally held on.
If the strike does go ahead as planned, it will affect the London Waterloo line to Reading, which provides transport to a significant number of racegoers heading to Ascot or close stations such as Sunningdale, during the royal meeting.
South Western Railway (SWR) are hopeful in their chances to negotiate with the RMT before the racing kicks in, and has urged the union to cancel the industrial action.
(Credit: Racing Post) An SWR spokesperson said: "With further Acas talks already in the diary for June 17, for the RMT Union to call a week of strikes starting the following day shows there is not a genuine commitment to finding a solution.
"We remain committed to finding a solution that will help us build a better railway for our customers and colleagues alike.
"If these strikes go ahead they will cause needless disruption. We are calling for the RMT to call off this unnecessary industrial action so that planned Acas talks can go ahead."
The General Secretary at RMT - Mick Cash said: "For more than three months we have sought to negotiate a conclusion to this dispute and it is wholly down to the management side that the core issue of the safety critical competencies and the role of the guard has not been signed off.
"It is because of that crucial failure by SWR that we have had no option but to lift the suspension and move back into strike action."
Ascot Racecourse have advised all concerned to take advantage of any replacement bus services and maxing out all potential car-sharing scenarios.
Racegoers can only expect a bare-bone rail service, which will be supported by a rail-replacement bus service for all five days of Royal Ascot.
Having initially decided to closely monitor the situation, the racecourse has now decided to urge its' customers to stay away from the train and instead drive to the meeting, which could lead to larger queues on all roads approaching the venue.
Nick Smith, Ascot's director of racing and communications, said: "We will communicate with customers if there's no resolution and we're in regular discussion with SWR.
"They will be putting in contingency plans and, from our perspective, the advice to customers will be that if they travel by train there will be delays and congestion.
"So they should consider driving to the meeting over the five days, as we have a number of pay on the day car parks which we can open up if necessary and they would, of course, be clearly signposted."
Keep your eyes peeled on social media and Transport For London for the latest travel updates.