Northern rail strike brings fresh disruption for passengers

Josh Halliday North of England correspondent
Northern said it would run as many services as possible between 7am and 7pm but warned that it would run fewer services during the strikes. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA

Passengers on Northern rail services are facing further travel misery on Tuesday with a fresh strike in a long-running dispute over guards on trains.

Members of the RMT union are staging a 24-hour walkout, with further stoppages planned for Thursday and Saturday.

Northern said it would run as many services as possible between 7am and 7pm but warned that it would run fewer services during the strikes.

Northern’s regional director for its western region, Sharon Keith, said: “On each day of the strike action we will be running fewer services and expect those services we do operate to be extremely busy.

“It is, therefore, vital that anyone thinking of travelling with Northern on Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday plans their journey carefully.”

The walkout is expected to bring further travel misery for passengers who have faced weeks of disruption, including hundreds of cancelled services, after the introduction of a new timetable caused chaos across the network.

As the strike began on Tuesday morning, passengers complained of overcrowded trains and insufficient rail replacement buses for rush hour services across the north of England.

Meanwhile, Northern workers mounted picket lines outside stations as RMT said they continued to receive the backing of the public.

The RMT general secretary, Mick Cash, said: “It’s another day and another rail scandal under [the transport secretary] Chris Grayling.

“Instead of propping up a foreign-owned company in its fight against British workers, Chris Grayling should be allowing meaningful discussions to take place which would allow passengers to keep a second member of staff on every train.”

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “This dispute is not about jobs or safety. Guards have been guaranteed their jobs and the independent rail regulator has ruled that driver-controlled trains, which have been used in this country for 30 years, are safe.

“We urge the union to abandon these strikes, work with the train operator and make passengers’ services their number one priority.”