Dorset rail passengers hit by fare increases in the new year are now being warned of further potential strike action which will cause disruption.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union could walk out on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of next week on Weymouth-Waterloo operator South Western Railway (SWR) if talks break down.

Arriva Rail North (Northern), Merseyrail Greater Anglia, and Southern are also affected.

The industrial action centres on a bitter dispute over the role of guards on trains.

Talks were held between the union and SWR, with no news of any breakthrough yesterday.

A South Western Railway spokesman said: "Following our meeting, we have provided an amended framework to the RMT which we hope will enable them to call off next week's industrial action and allow us to work together to find a resolution which benefits everyone, not least our passengers.

"We have guaranteed that we will roster a second person on board every train and that guards' jobs and terms and conditions are safe.

"If next week's strikes on 8, 10 and 12 January do go ahead, we plan to run over 70 per cent of our normal weekday trains each day to keep our passengers on the move.

"Although we are running more, and longer, trains than we did in the November strikes, trains will be busier than usual and so we recommend passengers travel outside of the peaks where ever possible."

The RMT said before the talks it was entering discussions "in good faith and seeking an agreement which guarantees a guard on their trains and protects the safety, security and access of the travelling public".

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: "If we can secure that kind of agreement in Scotland and Wales there is no reason at all why we can do the same in England."

He added: “RMT will continue to press all of the rail companies for genuine and meaningful talks in all of the separate disputes over safety and the role of the guard.”

On strike days before Christmas, there was no train service between Weymouth and Poole, with buses laid on instead. A reduced train service then ran between Poole, Bournemouth, Southampton and London.

Timetables for potential strike days next week have not been finalised and it is not yet known if there will be a train service between Weymouth and Poole.

Passengers are urged to visit for updates.

There will be a reduced service on the Exeter-Waterloo line which runs through north Dorset.