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

The Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) confirmed that staff from Merseyrail will walk out for 24 hours on Saturday, March 3.

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 the RMT say will threaten the security of guards jobs on trains.

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 7am to 7pm, with a break in service between 11.30am and 1.30pm.

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. 

Northern rail will operate a reduced service.

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

Mersey Ferries are due to run as planned but cross river rail tickets will not be accepted on this date.

Fans of Liverpool and Newcastle football clubs will still be able to get to and from Anfield Stadium; there will be extra capacity on the 917 Stagecoach match day service to and from Liverpool city centre and other bus services are due to run as planned.

There will be no SoccerBus from Sandhills as Merseyrail services will not stop at Sandhills station.

Managing director at Merseyrail Andy Heath said: “Once again we would like to apologise to our passengers for having to endure yet another day of industrial action, now the sixteenth strike on the Merseyrail network since this dispute began.

"We are running as many services as possible on March 3 to keep the city region moving and we will do everything we can to keep disruption to a minimum for our passengers.”

RMT 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.

"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.

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

Key advice for everyone in the City Region needing to travel on this date is:

• Plan ahead and consider your alternative travel options. You can use the Merseytravel journey planner:

• Check timetables and leave more time for your journey.

• Don’t aim for the last bus or train home as services are likely to be very busy

• Stick to public transport wherever possible to reduce congestion on key routes in and out of the city centre, including Mersey Tunnels.