RAIL passengers are being warned to check before they travel this weekend with a strike set to disrupt services.

Three days of industrial action by the RMT union will start tomorrow.

Revised timetables are in place for the three days, with those services Northern, the UK’s largest train operator outside London, is able to run expected to be extremely busy.

A spokesman for Northern said: “We have prioritised the busiest services at the busiest times of day, but our timetables are reduced and we expect all services to be extremely busy.

“We would ask our customers to plan carefully, allow extra time for travel and consider whether their journeys are necessary.

“On Saturday and Monday, the majority of services will run between 7am and 7pm, though they will start winding down from late afternoon. On Sunday, most services will run between 9am and 5pm.”

The strike relates to the long-running dispute over rail safety and the move towards driver-only trains.

It comes as a big upgrade for trains in East Lancashire has moved an important step closer.

Northern is planning to introduce 98 new electric and diesel trains across its area as part of a £580million investment announced last year.

The first new trains, offering free Wifi, power sockets and digital information screens, will enter service in December 2018 and all 98 will be carrying Northern’s customers around the network by 2020.

Now an engineering director and a head of new trains have been recruited to oversee the project.

The design of the trains has been finalised and construction of the 281 carriages is under way. Ian Hyde, Northern’s new head of new trains, said: “This is a once in a generation chance to significantly improve the quality of rail services in the North.

“We’re enhancing the overall on-board experience. The introduction of these units will contribute to increasing our fleet and our overall capacity, bringing more flexibility and allowing us to offer more and faster services.”

Engineering director Ben Ackroyd said: “These are exciting times to be working for Northern and I am proud to be overseeing such a massive programme of change.

“The end of next year may seem like a long way off but there is a lot to deliver before then and for our customers, it will be worth the wait.”

The design of the units is substantially different to the specification Northern’s customers have experienced, with free Wifi, power sockets and digital information screens.

The new and refurbished trains form just part of Northern’s modernisation plans, which also include more services, faster connections, better stations and improved customer service.