Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) at train companies and Network Rail will walk out for 24 hours today (Wednesday, July 27).
Over 40,000 Network Rail staff and 14 train operators are expected to join the strike.
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Only around a fifth of normal services will run, and half of lines will be closed but lines are worst impacted and what bus services are available as alternative transport.
Rail operator plans for Wednesday:
No direct services will run between Birmingham and Bristol, Cardiff, Peterborough, Cambridge or Stansted Airport.
Only two trains per hour will operate between Edinburgh and London King’s Cross, and one per hour between Leeds and London King’s Cross, in both directions.
Passengers are urged “not to travel” as only a small number of routes will have trains.
Routes that will be open include Liverpool to Alderley Edge; York to Leeds; and Darlington to Saltburn.
There will only be a very limited service, with just these routes open: Manchester Airport to Preston; Manchester Piccadilly to York; Newcastle to Edinburgh; and Cleethorpes to Sheffield.
FlixBus Leeds to London/Scotland:
Meanwhile a new bus route connecting Leeds with London and Scotland has launched in a bid to help travellers avoid rail and airport chaos this summer.
The FlixBus service runs daily between London, Edinburgh and Glasgow, with one-way tickets from £3.99, although £10 to £20 is more common.
There are up to 12 services a day connecting Glasgow, Edinburgh, Leeds, Sheffield and London.
FlixBus UK managing director Andreas Schorling said: “While airports and airlines cancel flights, we’re adding even more journeys on our reliable, eco-friendly network.”
Arriva bus services will be running as normal connecting Leeds with Wakefield and Dewsbury.
The long running industrial action involving Arriva bus drivers ended after they accepted a vastly improved pay offer.
As part of the deal the rate for new starters has increased from £9.79 an hour to £10.84.