Northern Rail strike: Which services are affected this weekend?

Travel desk
Northern Rail train: Getty

The next in a series of 12 days of strikes by Northern Rail staff on consecutive Saturdays is taking place on 20 October.

This latest round of industrial action started on Saturday 25 August.

The strikes, which have been confirmed by the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union, are part of an ongoing dispute over the role of train guards and rail safety.

This will be the third round of industrial action taken by Northern Rail staff this year, with previous strikes taking place in March and June.

When will the strikes be happening?

All Arriva Rail North conductors, conductor instruction and train driver members have been told not to book on for duty between 12.01am and 11.59pm on Saturday 20 October, 27 October, 3 November and 10 November.

Will trains still be running?

More than 70 per cent of usual Northern Rail services will be affected, with very few running before 9am and after 6pm.

How will my journey be affected?

Some routes won’t have any services running, while others have a limited service. All routes that are able to operate trains are expected to be extremely busy. There are also replacement bus services available on some routes where trains aren’t running.

On Sunday there will be planned cancellations on a small minority of routes, primarily in the north west, and Northern is advising customers to check up to the last minute before travelling.

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 on board 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.”

In a statement to The Independent, Richard Allan, deputy managing director of Northern, said: “The RMT’s announcement of yet more strike action is disappointing and frustrating. This will be a blow for our customers.

“It comes despite Northern proposing and entering into a joint working party with RMT on the future of the on-board role. We have agreed a terms of reference for those talks, agreed to discuss the RMT’s preferred outcome first and then held four days of talks with RMT in recent weeks.

“Northern is doing everything possible to find a solution to the RMT’s dispute and maintains that talking costs nothing, whilst strike action causes inconvenience to customers and damages the case for long-term investment in rail.”

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.