PASSENGERS are being urged to plan ahead of strike action on board Merseyrail and Northern Rail services in January.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) confirmed that members will walk out on rail services for 24 hours on January 8, 10 and 12.

Merseyrail services are planned to run every 30 minutes, with the exception of the New Brighton to Liverpool services which will run every hour from around 6.30am to 7.30pm, with a break in service between 11am and 1.30pm.

All Wirral services will start and terminate from James Street Station.

There will be no services on the following lines: Hunts Cross to Liverpool Central; Ellesmere Port to Hooton; Chester to Hooton, Kirkby to Liverpool Central and Ormskirk to Maghull.

Merseyrail tickets will be accepted on Arriva bus services, except for between 7am to 9am and 4pm to 6pm.

The dispute between RMT and Merseyrail relates to a new fleet of driver-only trains that will replace the current 40-year-old rolling stock in 2020 which RMT say will threaten the security of guards jobs on trains.

Northern rail will operate a reduced service, with the majority of available trains operating between 7am and 7pm.

Services on some routes will finish earlier and some stations will have no service.

Mersey Ferries are due to run as planned and valid cross river rail tickets will be accepted on the ferries on the three days.

Managing director at Merseyrail Andy Heath said: “I am really disappointed with the strike action being taken by the RMT that will, after the previous strike days, yet again result in more disruption to your services.

"The timing of these latest strikes, three within a week, has been deliberately scheduled so as to cause as much impact as possible to you as a passenger.

"At the request of the Metro Mayor, we agreed to independent conciliation with the RMT union with no pre-conditions, but to date, the RMT have refused to meet without pre-conditions.

"I am very keen to begin a meaningful dialogue and engage in a detailed negotiation to find a middle ground which will satisfy all parties.

"As always, we will ensure that we deliver as robust a timetable as we can that will best serve your travel needs.”

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Every single effort that RMT has made to reach negotiated settlements in these separate disputes with the different train operating companies over safe operation and safe staffing has been kicked back in our faces and we are left with no option but to confirm a further phase of industrial action in the New Year.

"No one should be in any doubt, these disputes are about putting the safety of the travelling public before the profits of the private train companies.

“It is frankly ludicrous that we have been able to negotiate long-term arrangements in Scotland and Wales that protect the guards and passenger safety but we are being denied the same opportunities with rail companies in England.

"This suspension of normal industrial relations by the employers has to end if we are to make progress towards a solution that guarantees safe rail travel for all.

“RMT is in no doubt that it is the dead hand of the minority Tory Government that is interfering in these disputes and that their influence is a factor in preventing the union from reaching negotiated settlements.

"With fare increases kicking in on January 2 it is outrageous that Theresa May and Chris Grayling are happy to stand aside and cheer on overseas rail companies that rip-off the British passenger with eye-watering far increases to subsidise their domestic transport operations while throwing the guards off our trains.

“RMT is demanding that the blockade on talks is lifted in these separate disputes to allow us to negotiate freely with the companies and give us the opportunity to pursue the objective of a guard guarantee that puts British passenger safety before the rank exploitation of our rail network by fare-jacking private companies who are laughing all the way to the bank.

"If it’s good enough for Wales and Scotland to put safety first then it’s good enough for the rest of the UK.

“RMT stands ready for talks in each of these separate disputes.”

For more information on how to plan your journey download the Merseytravel app or visit