Northern Rail services will be disrupted again on Saturday 2 February, with the train operator running a much-reduced schedule in response to a planned strike.
Very few trains will run after 5pm on the next three Saturdays in February.
This latest round of industrial action started on Saturday 25 August, and was called as part of an ongoing dispute over the role of train guards and rail safety involving the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union.
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Travellers were also affected by bouts of industrial action taken by Northern Rail staff in March and June 2018.
When will the strikes be happening?
The next strike will take place between 12.01am and 11.59pm on Saturday 2 February.
Will trains still be running?
According to Northern, around 700 services will operate on Saturday, but very few will run after 5pm.
How will my journey be affected?
Some routes won’t have any services running, while others have a limited service. On those routes where trains are operating, all services are expected to be extremely busy. There are also replacement bus services available on some routes where trains aren’t running.
David Brown, managing director at Northern, said: “We expect all of our service on Saturdays to be extremely busy and are calling on our customers to plan their travel carefully for the coming weekend, check the new timetables well in advance, and make sure they do not rely on the last trains home.”
All customers are advised to check before travelling and, where necessary, may want to seek alternative modes of transport. Check the Northern Rail website for more details about all services affected and stay up to date by checking social media: @northernassist.
Why are the strikes taking place?
The owner of Northern Rail, Arrival Rail North, a subsidiary of the German national railway Deutsche Bahn, wants to operate driver-only services with automatic doors, a move RMT argues is putting profits before public safety.
RMT general secretary, Mick Cash, said: “RMT committed to talks in good faith with Northern, but instead of making progress towards a settlement that matches the best practice in the rail industry as negotiated elsewhere, the company have opted instead to play fast and loose, making a mockery of the exercise.
“Our reps know when they are being strung along and it’s that attitude from the company that has forced us to announce this next phase of action.
“RMT members on Arriva Rail North have been in dispute for well over a year now in a battle to put public safety before private profit and we are angry and frustrated that a genuine opportunity to reach an agreement has been kicked back by the company.
“German-owned Northern Rail want to run nearly half a million trains a year without a safety critical guard onboard in a move that would wreck both safety and access to services and they should listen to their front-line staff and pull back from that plan immediately.
“RMT recently secured an agreement on Greater Anglia that enshrines the guard guarantee. Similar agreements have also been reached in Wales and Scotland. Arriva Rail North need to do the right thing and come to an agreement that secures a guard on their trains too.”
Northern has called for RMT to suspend its strike action and return to talks at ACAS. It claims RMT has made agreements with other train operators that it refuses to discuss with Northern.
David Brown, MD at Northern, said: “More than 50 per cent of all rail journeys in the UK are made on driver-controlled trains and recently the Department for Transport and Transport for the North publicly confirmed that a second person – in addition to the driver – would be retained on Northern services.
“This second person will provide customer service, including meeting customer needs on accessibility, safety, security, ticketing and information. Therefore, there is no reason for the RMT to continue its disruptive and economically damaging strikes but despite this, the RMT continues with its strike action.”
Where can I find more information?
All passengers are advised to check the Northern Rail website and social media before travelling. Where possible, passengers may wish to consider alternative modes of transport.
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