People could be left stranded miles from home this weekend after Northern Rail braces for further strike action.
Northern Rail has warned passengers that services will be significantly affected this weekend as the RMT union prepares to engage in its 24th consecutive weekend of strike action tomorrow (Saturday, January 12)..
The beleaguered rail operator has warned passengers to prepare in advance to avoid missing the last train home and being left stranded.
It has announced details of the reduced services it will operate ahead of the strike action this weekend.
The RMT strike will see Northern running approximately 700 services – but with very few services running after 5pm. Those Northern services that do run, and other operators’ services, are expected to be extremely busy.
Northern has called on RMT to suspend its "damaging strike action" ahead of the impending shut down of the railways tomorrow evening,
David Brown, managing director 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.”
Mr Brown added: “We expect all of our service on Saturdays in January 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.”
RMT said its 44th day of strike action goes ahead on Northern tomorrow in defence of passenger safety and the role of train guard which Northern threatened to axe.
In addition, RMT has also announced its members will be striking on every Saturday in January.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “RMT Northern members will be striking again tomorrow in the long-running fight to put public safety before private profit as the company refuses to lift the axe from above the heads of their safety critical guards.
"It is frankly disgraceful that the German-owned parent company are deliberately prolonging the dispute so that they can milk the British tax-payer for a series of secretive subsidies and bailouts.
“RMT continues to make every effort to get serious and meaningful talks going with Northern but the company prefers to ignore the safety concerns of their staff and the public alike in a show of complete and utter contempt.
"RMT will not be party to the dilution of the safety culture on Northern Rail trains in a drive to prop up German owners Deutsche Bahn's profits – it is nothing short of a scandal that Northern passengers are paying some of the highest fares in Europe, travelling on unreliable and rammed out trains, to subsidise the domestic operations of the German parent company.
“That is why our members will be standing solid again tomorrow for the 44th day in support of a safe and accessible railway for all.
“We thank the public for their support and understanding throughout this dispute over rail safety and access and the union remains ready for genuine and serious talks.”
Tomorrow’s strike takes place as Northern Rail and RMT continue to disagree on a basis for a settlement to the dispute.
You can check the revised timetables for Northern Rail services here.