What you need to know about this week's mass rail strikes across South Western Railway, Southern and Greater Anglia

Rebecca Smith
South Coast Commuters Travel In To London On The Second Three-Day Southern Rail Strike
Strikes will affect a wave of train firms in January (Source: Getty)

Commuters may still be smarting from the rail fare rise that greeted them at the start of the year, but there's more misery on the way in the form of a series of strikes next week.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union has announced 24-hour walkouts across Northern, Merseyrail, Greater Anglia, Southern, South Western Railway and the Isle of Wight's Island Line.

At present, all the strikes remain on, after talks with both Northern and South Western Railway were unsuccessful.

So, here's a roundup of what you need to know about the week's strikes...

Read more: RMT and South Western Railway hold talks in bid to stave off strikes

When are the strikes?

8,10 and 12 January

RMT members on Northern, Merseyrail, Greater Anglia, South Western Railways and Island Line have been instructed to walk out between 00.01 hours and 23.59 hours on the 8, 10 and 12 January 2018

RMT members on Southern have been instructed to strike between 00.01 hours and 23.59 hours on the 8 January 2018

Why are they happening?

It's a row over the role of the guard and what the union says is the extension of so-called driver only operated trains. Talks have been held over the issue, and SWR has previously said it has "repeatedly assured" the RMT that it plans to keep guards on the trains.

Northern, meanwhile, has said it is "still prepared to guarantee jobs and pay for conductors" for the rest of its franchise to 2025, if an agreement can be reached on how staff can "deliver better customer service using those fantastic new facilities".

However, the RMT says Northern refused to enter into serious negotiations, so it's all at a bit of an impasse at the moment.

Hasn't that been going on a while?

Yes, the RMT has been in a dispute with Southern for well over a year - and while the train operator has resolved a similar row with train drivers' union Aslef, this one remains ongoing.

The dispute has since spread to several more train operators.

Any chance of it being called off?

At the moment, it's looking unlikely. Last-minute talks have yielded positive outcomes before, but discussions with both Northern and South Western Railway ended without a resolution this week.

What will the train service be like?

Train operators have disruption information on their sites, with SWR compiling a train service map for the three days of action planned. Orange routes indicate a reduced service, while red indicates the branches where there will be no service.

(Click or tap to view full-sized version.)

(Source: SWR)

The Island Line, will have replacement buses, with SWR saying a timetable will be published soon.

Southern expects the walkout to cause changes to services travelling to London Bridge, Charing Cross and Cannon Street.

Greater Anglia has previously brought in managers trained in conductor duties to replace guards on strike days to keep services running. It said it plans to run a full service and remains open for talks with the RMT.

Northern said it will run more than 1,350 services each day, with the majority running between 7am and 7pm to focus on the commuting times. During those hours, around two-thirds of its usual timetable will run. It has warned that trains and replacement buses will be extremely busy, and passengers should allow extra time for their journeys.

Merseyrail said it will run a reduced train service on all three days of strike action, with some station closures, and no trains running on the Kirkby, Ellesmere Port or Hunts Cross lines. Most services will run between 7am and 7pm, though there will be a break in service during the middle of the day.

Read more: "Frantic Friday" kicks off Christmas travel trouble as rail strikes loom

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