Members of the RMT union have staged industrial action, with three major rail lines affected by walk-outs taking place today and two affected yesterday.
Services on Southern, Greater Anglia and South Western Railway will be affected by a 48-hour strike until tomorrow night, while staff on Merseyrail and Northern walked out for 24 hours yesterday.
The RMT union, which is mostly made up of guards, called for industrial action in what it has labelled a threat to public safety, saying train operators will risk accidents if they change the role of guards as Southern did in January.
Southern says it will attempt to operate a normal service throughout the strike, but has warned that some trains will be cancelled on the West London, Guildford and Marshlink lines. South Western Railway has advised customers that services will be busier than usual and has published revised timetables. Meanwhile, Greater Anglia says it will operate a full service, as it has trained other staff to stand in for conductors – a move criticised during previous strike action when doors were opened on the wrong side of the train at Ipswich station.
South Western Railway MD Andy Mellors claims the introduction of a new fleet of trains in 2019 and 2020 does not pose a threat to guards’ jobs and says the firm has been attempting to work with RMT to determine the best way to operate trains.