WIRRAL rail commuters face disruption to journeys today as strike action takes place in an ongoing dispute over the planned introduction of driver-only trains.

Rail, Maritime and Transport Union members will walk out for 24 hours and will do the same on Friday.

As a result 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.

Andy Heath, Merseyrail managing director, said: "These days of strike action demonstrate the RMT's disregard for the impact their actions have on our passengers and damage to the economy of the city region.

"Since the last meeting with the RMT there have been eight strike days with the RMT steadfastly refusing to accept all attempts to get round the table.

"Both passengers and business leaders are saying to us that this is enough and now is the time for talks."

The RMT's General Secretary Mick Cash said: "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 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 https://www.merseyrail.org/