Train passengers will face fresh disruption on Saturday because of another strike by rail workers in the long-running dispute over jobs, pay and conditions.
Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) at 14 train operators will walk out, crippling services across the country.
Passengers were warned to check before they travel, with trains due to start later and finish much earlier than usual – typically between 7.30am and 6.30pm.
It is expected that nationally between 40% and 50% of train services will run but there will be wide variations across the network, with no services at all in some areas.
Services may also be disrupted on Sunday morning because much of the rolling stock will not be in the right depots.
Football fans and families travelling to weekend leisure events will be among those affected.
RMT members went on strike on Thursday and more stoppages are planned on March 30 and April 1.
Steve Montgomery, who chairs the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), said: “This latest round of strikes will be a further inconvenience to our customers, who have already experienced months of disruption, and cost our people even more money at a time they can least afford it.
“They will also be asking why the RMT leadership blocked the chance to resolve this dispute by refusing to give their members – many of whom would have benefited from a 13% increase – a say on their own deal.
“Unfortunately, while we will pull out all the stops to keep as many trains running as possible, there will be reduced services across many parts of the rail network on strike days, so our advice is to check before you travel.
“Tickets for 30 March and 1 April can be used the day before, or up to and including Tuesday 4 April.”
The RMT said that more than 20,000 workers will be taking strike action unless there is a negotiated settlement.
General secretary Mick Lynch said: “The private rail companies are in complete chaos, unable to make an improved offer to resolve our dispute and demonstrably failing to run the railways when we’re not on strike.
“FirstGroup in particular is like an out-of-control wrecking ball, only fit to make money for its City bosses.
“Avanti and TransPennine Express are both an abject disgrace but their owners made £90 million out of the railways in dividends over the last two years despite running appalling levels of service.
“The RDG need to sort themselves out and settle our dispute with an improved offer and then the Government needs to nationalise both Avanti and TransPennine Express.
“They are incapable of providing a decent service to passengers and the sooner they are brought into public ownership the better.”
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