Rail services will grind to a halt in parts of the country today as a fresh wave of strikes begins.
Members of the train drivers’ union Aslef will walk out on Wednesday and again on 3 June, the day of the FA Cup Final, while members of the RMT will strike on Friday.
Aslef said there was “no waning in enthusiasm” in the long-running dispute over pay and conditions.
The government said the strikes were co-ordinated to disrupt major events.
Wednesday’s strikes will affect 15 train companies, with services due to start later and finish much earlier than usual – typically between 07:30am and 06:30.
Around 40% of trains will run but there will be wide regional variations, with some operators running no services at all.
The train operators affected on Wednesday
Avanti West Coast
East Midlands Railway
Great Western Railway
Great Northern Thameslink
Govia Thameslink Railway
London North Eastern Railway
Southern/ Gatwick Express
SWR depot drivers
SWR Island Line
West Midlands Trains
The London Underground will not be affected by the action.
Mick Whelan, general secretary of Aslef, said train drivers were “determined to get a resolution and remain in this for the long haul”.
But he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that “zero” progress had been made in negotiations with the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents train operators, and accused the government of being underhand.
“We go into talks in good faith, then deceitfully [the RDG] put out deals they know are destined to fail and we can’t accept.
“Ultimately, we’ll have to solve this – after four years without a pay rise my members feel they’re entitled to one, particularly during this cost of living crisis.”