Five days of nationwide rail strikes have reportedly started in the UK, halting much of the country's rail system and leaving passengers on urban and intercity networks with only a skeletal service.
Given that just 20% of trains were anticipated to run and that the regular operating hours have been shortened to between 7.30 am and 6.30 pm, passengers were advised to only try to travel if absolutely necessary.
Two 48-hour strikes by the RMT or Rail, Maritime and Transport union’s members at Network Rail along with 14 train operators will begin on Tuesday and continue through Friday.
With signaling personnel among the 40,000 RMT members on strike, most of the services in Wales, Scotland, and less populous areas of England will be closed, and service frequency will be reduced to one train per hour on important routes.
In the interim, the Aslef union's train operators will go on a 24-hour strike. On Thursday, the Aslef strike will cause even more inconvenience, with no trains running across some of the 15 companies where workers are on strike, namely Thameslink, Southeastern, Avanti, and TransPennine Express.
People have been urged by Network Rail to only travel during the week if it is extremely necessary and to look online for changes in service schedules.
The strikes of this week follow three weeks of labor unrest that dramatically delayed train service over the holiday season, including an additional ban that concluded on Monday night and badly impacted certain train operators.
The long-running dispute over salary, employment opportunities, and work environment on the railway hasn't reached an immediate resolution as of time. On Monday, unions alleged that the state's approach over the pay dispute, with the Treasury now essentially determining what settlement may be reached, has left rail businesses in despair.
The Rail Delivery Group, which speaks for train operators, issued an apology to passengers for the unwarranted and damaging interruption and cautioned that the conflict could only be settled by agreeing to changes to working conditions.