Today’s tube strike means that London Underground (LU) are running “ghost trains” through the capital, say the unions, despite Transport for London’s claims that more than 40% of trains are running.

Picket lines were arranged at more than 100 stations and depots and about 80 Tube stations will be closed today, including Charing Cross, Westminster, Piccadilly Circus, Knightsbridge and Heathrow Terminal 4.

Members of the Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) union and the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) walked out on Tuesday night in a row over pay and conditions.

Unions are protesting at plans to scrap 800 mainly ticket office jobs, and claim that the number is set to rise to almost 2,000.

Today’s strike is the third in recent weeks and unions have promised a fourth at the end of the month if the dispute isn’t settled.

Despite TfL’s claim that more than 40% of tube lines were running this morning, RMT leader Bob Crow said:

“All the reports from the front line are that today’s action over safe Tube staffing levels is rock solid the length and breadth of the system, as our members send out the clearest possible message to the mayor to call a halt to the cuts before there’s a major disaster.

“TfL have been reduced to running ghost trains through closed stations and once again we have evidence of breaches of safety regulations with untrained staff left in charge of stations without adequate safety training. That is a desperate gamble with passengers’ safety simply to prop up London Underground’s PR effort.

“This strike is about Tube safety and safe staffing levels. We have had a clear choice – accept the cuts and wait for a disaster or stand up and fight for a safe and secure Tube system. Our members have shown their determination to fight and we call again for TfL and the mayor to halt the cuts and open meaningful talks that end the crisis management on the London Underground.”

TfL have brought in 100 extra buses, capacity for around 10,000 more journeys on the river, and marshalled taxi ranks.

Mike Brown, managing director of London Underground, said: “We are doing everything we can to keep as many Tube services as possible operating today and more trains will be coming into service as the day goes on.”

Find out which tube services are affected by the strike here:

– Frankie Mullin