More train strikes have started on Saturday, with further action planned in the coming weeks amid the worsening disputes over jobs, pay and conditions.
The latest wave of rail strikes have caused huge disruption on the West Coast mainline - which links much of the North West and provides services to London and Scotland.
Holidaymakers, football fans and tourists are among tens of thousands of passengers affected.
Today's walkout was staged by rail drivers union, Aslef, who's members mounted picket lines in Liverpool, Manchester, Crewe and Preston.
Members of Aslef at nine train companies are walking out for 24 hours, crippling large parts of the network, with some parts of the country having no services.
Their dispute includes rail firm Avanti West Coast which cancelled all services today. The union claims the Government is blocking firms from negotiating.
The strikes will hit:
Avanti West Coast
Great Western Railway
West Midlands Trains
'The government has forced our hand'
Mick Whelan, Aslef’s general secretary, said that the train companies were unable to offer a pay rise without the permission of the Department for Transport, but the government was insisting it had nothing to do with them.
He warned that if there is no breakthrough to the long-running row soon, more strikes are likely to be called."
Mr Whelan further added:
“We don’t want to go on strike – strikes are always a last resort – but the companies, and the government, have forced our hand.
“We don’t want to inconvenience passengers because our friends and families use public transport too, because we believe in building trust in the railways in Britain, and because we don’t want to lose money by taking industrial action. The companies have said that they cannot, or will not, give our members an increase.
“They blame the government – a result, they say, of the dodgy deals they did when the franchises were turned into management contracts – while the government says it’s down to the train operators. So we are caught in a Catch-22 situation where each side blames the other.”
Aslef said that drivers on strike on Saturday have not had a pay increase for three years.