A major online train journey planner has stopped working as services are crippled due to the largest rail strike for a generation.

Passengers attempting to use the National Rail Enquiries website to find out what trains are running are being shown a message stating: “500 Internal Server Error”.

The cause of the problem was unclear but it could be due to a surge in demand.

Read more: Rail strike in Dorset: Key information on train services

Only a fifth of trains are running on Tuesday and half of lines are closed as around 40,000 members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union at Network Rail and 13 train operators have walked out.

Services are generally restricted to main lines, but even those are only open between 7.30am and 6.30pm.

Bournemouth Echo:

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said ministers would change the law to minimise disruption from strikes by requiring a certain level of service to be run and enabling the use of agency workers.

He told Sky News: “We are going to ensure that the law is firmly on the passengers’ side.”

He added that the industrial action is “taking us back to the bad old days of union strikes” as he vowed to “push on” with reforms of the sector.

Much of Britain will have 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.

Last-ditch talks failed to resolve the bitter dispute over pay, jobs and conditions, with all sides blaming each other for the lack of progress.

Strikes are also planned for Thursday and Saturday.

London Underground services are also suspended on the vast majority of lines today due to a walk out by workers.

This week’s strikes will cause travel misery for millions.

There will be no rail service between Dorset and London on the three strike days.