An electrical engineer from Lewisham said his normal 10-minute train journey to work took him 90 minutes today, due to the current rail strikes.

The largest rail strike for a generation caused severe disruption on Tuesday (June 21), with more cancellations happening on Wednesday.

Many passengers’ journeys took several hours longer than normal, while those who chose to travel by car instead were greeted by a surge in traffic.

Just a fifth of trains ran today and half of all lines were closed.

The chaos will continue on Wednesday, with only 60% of trains running, mainly due to a delay to the start of services as signallers and control room staff are not doing overnight shifts.

Electrical engineer Harry Charles, from Lewisham, said his normal 10-minute journey to work by train to London Bridge took him 90 minutes.

The 30-year-old from south-east London, said: “Obviously I had to wake up early and left my house at 6am.

“I am with the employees who are striking because their money is not going up and the cost of everything is rising.

“The strike has caused a lot of hassle for people, but everyone wants be able to eat.”

Last trains were much earlier than normal, such as London Euston to Glasgow at 1.30pm and London King’s Cross to Edinburgh at 2pm.

The network was due to shut down at 6.30pm.

Some 40,000 members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union at Network Rail and 13 train operators walked out on Tuesday in a bitter dispute over pay, jobs and conditions.

READ MORE: ‘Government failed to deal with cost-of-living crisis’ Labour MP says at Bromley rail strikes

Much of Britain had no passenger trains for the entire day, including most of Scotland and Wales, the whole of Cornwall and Dorset, and places such as Chester, Hull, Lincoln and Worcester.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson told a meeting of the Cabinet that reforms are vital for the rail industry and passengers.

He said: “I say this to the country as a whole, we need to get ready to stay the course.

“To stay the course, because these reforms, these improvements in the way we run our railways are in the interests of the travelling public, they will help to cut costs for farepayers up and down the country.”

Usually, busy stations such as London Euston and Birmingham New Street were nearly deserted except for union picket lines.

Many people worked from home rather than travelled to offices.

Retail analysts Springboard said footfall in central London was 27% down on last Tuesday, while city centres outside the capital suffered an 11% reduction.

Those who had to travel faced skeleton train timetables and increased traffic on the roads.

London Underground services were also suspended on the vast majority of lines due to a walkout by workers.

Figures published by location technology firm TomTom show the level of road congestion at 11am was higher than the same time last week in several cities.

In London, congestion levels increased from 38%% on June 14 to 51% today.

Other locations with worse traffic included Cardiff (from 24% to 29%), Liverpool (from 24% to 30%), Manchester (from 27% to 34%) and Newcastle (from 18% to 20%).

The figures represent the proportion of additional time required for journeys compared with free-flowing conditions.

There were also severe queues on outer London sections of the M1, M4, A4 and A40.

People trying to travel around the capital faced long queues for buses.

Uber hiked its prices amid a spike in demand, with a three-mile journey from Paddington to King’s Cross estimated to cost £27 at 8.45am.

Strikes are also planned for Thursday and Saturday.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is considering possible disciplinary action after several of his party’s MPs joined picket lines outside stations.

He reportedly ordered frontbenchers not to do that as the Conservatives have sought to use the row to claim Labour is on the side of striking workers who have caused chaos.

Pupils and parents were being urged to make an alternative plan for getting to school for A-level and GCSE exams.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch warned that the dispute could continue for months.

The union has been asked by Network Rail to attend formal consultation talks next month on introducing “modern working practices”.

Network Rail official Tim Shoveller said the changes will mean “dumping outdated working practices and introducing new technology”.

He added: “We expect this will reduce roles by around 1,800, the vast majority of which will be lost through voluntary severance and natural wastage.”

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