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Tens of thousands of commuters in train strike chaos

Tens of thousands of commuters have struggled to get to and from work again today as three rail companies went on strike.

The issue linking Southern Rail, Merseyrail and Northern Rail was the planned axing of on-board guards.

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.

Video report by ITV News Correspondent Damon Green.

Strike disruption continues as rail row rumbles on

Picket lines sprung up across northern England this morning, creating one of the biggest days of disruption since the railways were privatised.

Southern is embroiled in a row over changes to the role of conductors for almost a year, with the RMT now taking 30 days of strike action.

Merseyrail and Arriva Trains North are planning to introduce new trains in the coming years which will be driver-only operated.

One union representative told ITV News: "They failed to give us a guarantee of a second person on the train. And they failed to give us a guarantee that that person would retain the safety critical competencies - like the current conductor.

"We think that's completely unacceptable and is a less safe method of operation."

Train drivers refuse to cross picket lines

A deserted Hunt's Cross railway station in Liverpool as workers at Merseyrail workers go on strike Credit: PA

Disruption is worsening as more drivers than expected refuse to cross picket lines.

Merseyrail had hoped to run almost half its services, but "many" drivers took the decision not to work today.

The company said it was running around 20% of services, far fewer than previously advertised.

Trains were still running on most routes, every half an hour, but they were not stopping at every station.

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