Members of the Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) union will stage a walkout on Southern, Northern and Merseyrail services in a dispute over train guards.
Thousands of trains will be cancelled and stations closed, with the RMT also threatening to spread the protest to the South West and Wales.
Northern and Southern guards also walked out on Friday while Merseyrail workers took action on Friday and yesterday.
But operators complain that today’s action appears designed to cause maximum disruption, with pupils and workers facing long delays and bus-replacement services as they return after summer holidays.
Thousands of trains will be cancelled and stations closed, with the RMT also threatening to spread the protest to the South West and Wales
Northern and Southern guards also walked out on Friday while Merseyrail workers took action on Friday and yesterday
Northern has said it expects trains and bus replacement services to be ‘extremely busy’, with many journeys taking longer than usual, and it warned connections to other services may not be available.
The operator has advised passengers to consider if their journey is necessary and check services before travelling.
No Northern train or bus replacement services are running from 137 stations including Durham, Derby, Liverpool South Parkway, Scunthorpe, Stoke-on-Trent, and Widnes. Bus replacement services will run on lines including from Manchester Piccadilly to Preston, and Leeds to Selby.
Sharon Keith, of Arriva-owned Northern, said: ‘It is disappointing that RMT has timed these two days of strike action to coincide with people returning to school, college and work after the summer holidays. The action aims to cause disruption to people’s lives, businesses and the economy.’
Northern has advised passengers to consider if their journey is necessary and check services before travelling
Merseyrail is expected to run just 160 of about 800 services. Some 1,600 trains of Northern’s 2,500 trains will be cancelled.
They will operate between 7am and 7pm, instead of between 6.30am and 11.30pm, so those working late will be forced to find an alternative way to get home.
Five days of strikes took place on Merseyrail before the latest protest. The operator said they had coincided with major events such as the Grand National and The Open golf championship at Royal Birkdale.
Merseyrail is expected to run just 160 of about 800 services. Some 1,600 trains of Northern’s 2,500 trains will be cancelled
Pupils and workers facing long delays and bus-replacement services as they return after summer holidays
WHICH SERVICES ARE HIT BY THE STRIKE
- Running just 900 of 2,500 daily services
- Services not stopping at 137 stations including Durham, Derby and Scunthorpe and Stoke-on-Trent
- Last train runs at 7pm
- 80 per cent of trains cancelled
- Running about 160 of 800 daily services
- No trains or bus replacement services running on the Ellesmere Port, Hunts Cross and Kirkby lines.
- Last trains run at 7pm
SOUTHERN AND GATWICK EXPRESS
- 10 per cent of trains cancelled
- Running about 1,980 of 2,200 daily services
Drivers in the Aslef union have not been directly involved in the latest protest, but refused to cross the picket line so Merseyrail has been forced to draft in managers who have been trained to drive the trains.
Southern says it expects to run around 90 per cent of its 2,200 daily services.
Last week the RMT announced plans to ballot its members over action on South West trains.
It also warned the strike could spread to Wales if driver-only trains were introduced on the Wales and Borders franchise when it comes up for renewal in October next year.
RMT – joined by drivers’ union Aslef – has protested over the decision to switch to driver-only trains which can run without a guard on board.
Drivers – using CCTV monitors in the cabin – are being handed responsibility for opening and closing doors, rather than guards.
The RMT claims this is unsafe, despite the fact these trains are approved by regulators and have been running safely on Britain’s railways for decades.
Jan Chaudhry-van der Velde, Merseyrail’s managing director, said: ‘This dispute is about the RMT maintaining bargaining power and industrial might.’
But RMT general secretary Mick Cash said politicians had to decide between ‘safety-critical guards’ and ‘rip-off private rail companies’.