RAIN passengers will face travel chaos on New Year’s Eve as South Western Railway staff are to strike over the role of guards.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union on South Western Railway will walk out for 24 hours on December 31.

The union’s Mick Cash revealed this week that it had met Trans- port Secretary Chris Grayling in a bid to resolve the disputes affecting five rail operators, but said there were “contradictory messages and confusion” from the minister and his department.

South Western Railway said on its website: “None of us wanted to be in this position, and we have repeatedly given the RMT assurances that we plan to keep the second person on all our trains.

“Despite these reassurances the RMT executive seems determined not to listen and is pressing ahead with these damaging strikes.

“We will continue to try and find a solution, but it is difficult to see what this dispute is about.”