Rail strikes could possibly spread across England after union bosses threatened to escalate the war against trains operated by drivers only.

As the Southern rail dispute continues, there is a danger that other franchises like London Midland, Northern, Merseyrail and South West may face the same chaos as major upgrades of trains are currently being planned for these lines.

According to The Times, a new franchise for Northern suggests that the operator could introduce some driver-only operated trains.

And Merseyrail is due to decide over the purchase of new trains that could end up being driver-only operated coaches, further intensifying disputes.

The newspaper added that both London Midland and South West Trains are both being put out to tender and the documents say that any new trains should be able to be "operated under driver controlled operation."

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) were seen handing out leaflets this week at stations along the London Midland network - promoting a "safe trains for all" campaign aimed at resisting changes to the rail service.

RMT says the government is trying to introduce driver-only operated trains on the network. The network which runs between London, Birmingham and Liverpool carries 17.5 million passengers a year.

The Southern rail dispute, which is in its second day, saw all 2,242 services daily cancelled on Monday and Tuesday. Strikes are expected to continue on Wednesday (15 December).