Commuters are facing fresh travel chaos over Easter after rail workers voted to stage further strikes over next month and April amid an ongoing row over pay.
Union leader Mick Lynch said workers will be taking "sustained and targeted industrial action over the next few months", after blaming the Government for failing to allow train companies to make new, better offers.
Mr Lynch, who heads up the Rail, Maritime and Transport workers union (RMT), said: "The Government can settle this dispute easily by unshackling the rail companies.
"However, its stubborn refusal to do so will now mean more strike action across the railway network and a very disruptive overtime ban."
It comes days after the Rail, Maritime and Transport workers union (RMT) rejected train operators' "best and final" 9pc pay rise.
Mark Harper, the Transport Secretary, had last week signalled he was not willing to allow train operators to sweeten their deal with better terms on pay.
It dashed hopes that the RMT was nearing pay deals from both train operators and Network Rail. The Telegraph recently revealed that Mr Lynch had been facing pressure from members to avoid further strike action.
What are the new train strike dates?
The RMT announced this afternoon that rail workers at 14 train operators are due to stage four days of walkouts:
- Thursday March 16
- Saturday March 18
- Monday March 20
- Saturday April 1
National Rail staff are also planning to strike on March 16. The RMT says it represents around 40,000 workers across National Rail and the 14 train operators, meaning major swathes of the train network will grind to a halt.
Disruption is also expected to come from a planned overtime ban by National Rail workers who are members of the RMT.
Which train companies will be affected?
There are 14 train companies which will be affected by the staff walkouts, and it is expected that these will be the same ones which have been hit by earlier walkouts. These are:
Cross Country Trains
East Midlands Railway,
Great Western Railway,
South Western Railway
Avanti West Coast,
West Midlands Trains
GTR (including Gatwick Express)
Why are rail workers going on strike?
Unions are demanding pay rises for their members who are battling soaring inflation, although train operators are limited in how much they can offer, given they require a mandate from the Government.
Train bosses are also under pressure to cut costs to balance the books, after a slump in the number of people commuting into city centres every day. This means they are looking at introducing more technology.
Union bosses have said they cannot accept so-called modernisation efforts, as it would result in "a severe reduction in scheduled maintenance tasks, making the railways less safe, the closure of all ticket offices and thousands of jobs stripped out of the industry when the railways need more investment not less".
Will I be able to get a refund if my train is going to be cancelled?
In previous strikes, National Rail has said that, if a train journey is cancelled, delayed or rescheduled, passengers are entitled to a change or refund from wherever they bought their tickets.
Customers with season tickets have also been able to claim compensation through the delay repay scheme, while National Rail has said that "weekly season tickets which have not started yet can be refunded, [although] a £10 admin fee may apply".