- Conductors on Southern rail network are staging their latest 24-hour strike
- They are being joined by colleagues from Northern and Merseyrail networks
- Northern said 40% of its trains will run and Merseyrail will have half its services
Train stations in northern England were deserted this morning as rail commuters stayed at home to avoid some of the worst chaos since the 1990s today.
More than half of services were cancelled as staff walked out over driver-only trains, with stations in Sheffield and Manchester unusually quiet during rush hour.
Conductors staging their latest 24-hour strike on the beleaguered Southern network were joined on the picket lines by colleagues from Northern and Merseyrail.
Commuters in the North tweeted their frustration at the strikes today, although some passengers found morning services that were running were quieter than usual.
More than half of services have been cancelled in parts of the country as staff walk out over driver-only trains, with Manchester Victoria station (above) unusually quiet at rush hour today
Manchester Victoria: Conductors staging their latest 24-hour strike on the beleaguered Southern network were joined on the picket lines by colleagues from Northern and Merseyrail
Northern is one of the UK's largest franchises, operating almost 2,500 local and long-distance services a day in the North West, Yorkshire and North East. Manchester Victoria is empty today
The strikes were supported by members of the far-Left RMT union at Manchester Victoria
The strikes, by members of the far-Left RMT union, were called after a row involving workers at Northern, run by Arriva, and Merseyrail, operated by Serco-Abellio.
The employees say they have not been given sufficient assurances about the future role of conductors when new rolling stock is introduced.
The union mounted picket lines outside stations, saying they were receiving support from the public for its campaign to keep a safety-critical guard on trains.
Northern is one of the UK's largest franchises, operating almost 2,500 local and long-distance services a day in the North West, Yorkshire and North East.
A deserted Hunts Cross railway station in Liverpool is pictured today as workers at Merseyrail workers go on strike over staffing, causing travel misery for passengers
Hunts Cross station in Liverpool is the southern terminus of Merseyrail's Northern Line
The station is normally served by trains between Liverpool Lime Street and Warrington Central
Hunts Cross: Merseyrail, which normally runs 800 services, said it planned to operate around half of its normal services today
Leaflets are handed out at the RMT picket line at Liverpool Lime Street station this morning
Its services include almost all commuter routes into Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle and Sheffield.
Strike disruption today
- No trains will run between Hunts Cross / Kirkby and Liverpool Central
- Services from Maghull to Liverpool Central, in that direction only
- Trains will not run between Ellesmere Port and James Street
- Services between Chester and James Street have been amended to start and terminate at Hooton, not calling at stations towards Chester
- An hourly service will run between New Brighton and James Street
- Trains will run between West Kirby and James Street, however Bidston, Birkenhead Park, Conway Park and Manor Park will not be served
- No Southern services between Clapham Junction and Milton Keynes Central via Kensington Olympia / Watford Junction
- No Southern service between Leatherhead and Guildford
- No Rye – Ashford International shuttle services during the morning and evening peaks. Most services between Ashford International and Brighton should operate. Buses are also planned to operate between Rye and Ashford International
- Some trains between London Bridge and Brighton, Eastbourne or Littlehampton will not operate
- Some services between Brighton and Seaford / Eastbourne / Hastings / Ashford and between Brighton and Bognor Regis / Littlehampton / Portsmouth Harbour / Southampton Central won't operate and others will have fewer carriages than normal
- Most services that only run between Brighton and Hove will not operate
- Northern will operate 40% of their usual number of weekday services
- Services will generally not start before 7am, with services winding down between 5pm and 7pm
Only around 40 per cent of its trains were due to run today, while others were to be replaced by buses.
Merseyrail, which normally runs 800 services, said it planned to operate around half of its normal services, but Southern said it would run 'most' of its 2,200 trains today.
David Sidebottom from the Transport Focus watchdog condemned the impact on passengers and urged the union and rail firms to hold talks to resolve the dispute.
He said: 'These industrial relations problems are being dumped on passengers who may have to cancel plans or endure miserable journeys.
'It is crucial that all parties have discussions to resolve this matter without bringing the railway to a standstill.'
A spokesman for Northern said: 'Our modernisation proposals are still in the early stages so it is disappointing that RMT is taking strike action.
'There is lots of time to talk and agree how we modernise the way we provide customer service. As part of our proposals we are prepared to offer guarantees on jobs and pay to our people.'
And Angie Doll, Southern's passenger services director said: 'We have shown that we can now run almost all our services during an RMT strike.
'Our on-board supervisors are now established in their roles and passengers are beginning to see the benefits of having someone whose sole job is customer service.'
Merseyrail failed to obtain a court injunction last week to stop the strike.
The RMT strike on Southern is the 30th since a row over the role of conductors flared almost a year ago.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: 'The RMT action on Merseyrail this morning is absolutely solid with pickets out in force at all key points and the response on the ground has been wholly positive. It has been a massively successful operation.
Some employees told on Twitter how they were working from home due to the strike today, while others said how it actually made their journey into the office easier than usual
Commuters in the North took to Twitter to vent their frustration at the train strikes this morning, while some passengers found services that were running were quieter than usual.
'This strike is about safety and about putting the welfare of the travelling public before the profits of the private rail companies.
'The public understand that and it's about time Merseyrail and their cheerleaders woke up to that reality, got out the bunker and started serious talks with the union that secure a safe future for their services and the guarantee of a guard on their trains.'
He also said the action for 'passenger safety and the retention of the guard' on Arriva Rail North was 'absolutely rock solid'.
Mr Cash added: 'Arriva Rail North should listen to their staff, listen to the public and recognise that there is no case whatsoever for axing the guard from their trains.'
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