Weymouth station was deserted as the first day of the largest rail strike in years halted trains.

This is the largest train strike in 30 years across the UK, with train workers striking three days this week - yesterday, Thursday and Saturday.

The strike action follows a ballot of RMT (National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers) members in relation to a dispute over pay and conditions.

Dorset Echo: Weymouth train station was closed on the first day of rail worker's strikes. Picture: Cristiano Magaglio

The action is affecting South Western Railway services to London and Great Western Railway services to Bristol.

On the Waterloo line, trains are running from Southampton to London on strike days but there are no services from Dorset.

Services today, Friday, and Sunday will be reduced to a 'late starting Sunday level of service'.

Passengers are urged only to travel by rail if absolutely necessary this week and check trains before travelling.

Some businesses outside Weymouth train station voiced their views on the impact the strike will have on themselves and the town.

Jay from the Park Corner Convenience Store said: "We usually have many tourists coming in from the station, especially with the weather we are having, but so far we've had a 50% drop in trade because of the strikes.

"We are worried it will cripple us over the weekend, which is when we are usually at our busiest, as we won't have the packed trains of tourists coming down to enjoy the sun in Weymouth."

Steve Hopcroft of Steve's Barbers, who has been based near the train station for ten years, said: "It clearly a divisive topic; those working on the railways clearly believe in their action, whilst many who commute or rely on train users would disagree.

"I feel sorry for any holidaymakers in Weymouth who can't make their way home.

Dorset Echo: Steve Hopcroft runs a barber shop right by the train station. Picture: Cristiano Magaglio

"Like all trade I am dependant on visitors, I often have train users coming in for a trim and will certainly see a reduction in business during the strikes.

"How many people will make a visit to Weymouth when there is this fear of future strikes? As a seaside town at this time of year with the sun out we are usually at our busiest, the strike is not good for us."

A spokesperson for the regional RMT union, said: “The strikes are the result of RMT members being balloted for strike action, and action short of strike, regarding thousands of planned job cuts, pay freezes and changes to negotiated terms and conditions."