Northern train bosses release emergency timetable ahead of three days of strikes

Northern rail passengers face disruption next week.
Northern rail passengers face disruption next week.

Rail bosses have released details of their emergency timetable ahead of three days of train strikes next week.

Ongoing talks between Arriva Rail North, which runs Northern services across the North East, and the the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union have so far failed to prevent the planned disruption.

Northern has now released details of its revised services on Monday, January 8, Wednesday, January 10, and Friday, January 12.

Seven trains will run in either direction between Newcastle and Middlesbrough with stops at Sunderland, Seaham, Hartlepool, Seaton Carew and Billingham.

Services will begin just before 7am and end just before 7pm.

Sharon Keith, Regional Director at Northern, said: “Services across the three days will be busy as many people are returning to work and school after the Christmas break.

“We are doing all we can to keep our customers on the move and are focussing on running as many trains as possible between 7am and 7pm to get people to work and home again.

"Between these hours we will run more than 60 per cent of our normal weekday timetable. We will also have replacement bus services available on some routes where trains aren’t running.

“We ask everyone to take time to plan their journeys carefully, allow extra time for travel and regularly check for service updates on our website.”

The dispute centres on fears that Northern and other rail operators will introduce more driver-only trains to the detriment of staff and customer safety.

R‎MT general secretary Mick Cash said: "Our members are angry and frustrated that yet again a genuine opportunity to make progress in talks yesterday has been kicked into touch by the pig-headed and intransigent attitude of Arriva Rail North who simply want their staff to surrender to their demands to axe guards from half their trains regardless of the safety consequences."

Northern, however, insists its modernisation programme will lead to new trains, faster and more frequent services and that the roles of guards and conductors will be guaranteed for seven years until the end of its current franchise in 2025.

Richard Allan, Arriva Rail North's deputy managing director, said: "Northern has asked RMT to hold a fresh ballot of conductors to give them a voice, 10 months after RMT started its strike action.

"Conductors at other train companies will get a fresh vote every six months because RMT's disputes at those companies started under new legislation.

"Northern is concentrating on running as many services as possible for customers on the next RMT strike days."

Details of the revised timetables, as well as other information about the impact of the RMT strike action, can be found on Northern’s website at northernrailway.co.uk/strike or by telephoning 0800 200 6060.