South Western Railway routes will be hit by a wave of fresh strikes from Friday in the long-running dispute over guards on trains.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) will walk out for four days, leading to disruption including commuter routes to and from Waterloo.

The union claimed SWR is set to receive a "bailout" from the Government worth millions of pounds because of the lost fares as a result of industrial action.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "Passengers will be outraged to know that South Western Railway will be paid by ministers even when they don't run trains on strike days.

"Despite repeated ministerial cover ups, rail bosses are now openly bragging that they will be receiving a taxpayer-funded strike bailout, which we estimate to be £32 million to date or the equivalent of a 3.4 per cent annual fare cut for South Western Railway passengers.

"Thanks to the generosity of the Government, South Western Railway don't lose a penny from strikes and therefore have little incentive to negotiate seriously."

An SWR spokesman said: "Every franchise has mechanisms built in to discuss changes to circumstances with the Department for Transport, and SWR is no exception.

"The RMT has always said it wanted us to keep the guard on every train, which is what we have offered as part of a framework agreement.

"We want to move the conversation on to how we operate our new trains and take advantage of the new technology on board to benefit our customers.

"We remain committed to finding a solution that will help us build a better railway for everyone.

"During strike action, while services are likely to be busier than usual, we will do everything we can to keep customers moving.

"We will be running just over half our normal timetabled service over the course of the four days and have rail replacement services and ticket acceptance in place on other transport providers wherever possible.

"We will also look for opportunities to introduce extra services each day to help keep our customers moving, so recommend checking the SWR app for the latest travel information."