Northern has announced details of the services it will operate for the RMT strike action on Saturday, 1 December and the following four Saturdays.
The RMT strike action, planned for 1,8,15,22 and 29 December, will see Northern running approximately 700 services during each Saturday – but with very few Northern services running after 5pm.
Those Northern services that do run and other operators’ services are expected to be extremely busy as the build-up to Christmas continues.
Northern has called for RMT to suspend its damaging December strike action and return to talks at ACAS. RMT has made agreements with other train operators that it refuses to discuss with Northern.
David Brown, Managing Director at Northern, said: “By the end of December, we will have had 19 consecutive Saturdays of RMT strike action. This targeted action disrupts our customers’ lives. But, as we enter a vital period for businesses, it also damages the economic wellbeing of the north of England.
“This Saturday, we are introducing a new timetable for RMT strike days that will deliver stable and consistent train services for our customers on each strike Saturday in December.
“We have fantastic colleagues who have supported customers by keeping our trains running on each of the RMT strike days. We are aiming to keep as many people moving as possible and ensuring customers can still travel into the biggest towns and cities for the big seasonal events including Christmas markets – but with very few services running after 5pm.
“We expect all of our services and those of other operators 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.”
Commenting on the position, Transport for the North’s Chief Executive Barry White said: “Businesses across the North’s villages, towns and cities are reaching their busiest time of year. Christmas markets are transforming our bustling centres and people want to enjoy all our economies have to offer. But this is being hampered by uncertainty and disruption on the rail network. People are choosing to make other plans as a result.
“It’s apparent that we need to restore confidence in the North’s railways. There needs to be a way forward. Now more than ever, passengers in the North need reliability as they go about what is a busy time for everyone. We urge both parties to begin meaningful discussions as soon as possible.”
Ongoing engineering work in some areas will also result in changes to some services over the weekend, particularly between Hull and Sheffield, Hull and York, Manchester and Crewe, Manchester and East Lancashire, Wigan and Manchester and Blackpool and York.
Specific route details below:
Manchester Christmas Markets services
- BOLTON – No trains due to engineering work – rail replacement buses in operation
- KIRKBY – No trains
- LIVERPOOL – No Northern trains to Manchester – customers should use other operators’ services
- WIGAN WALLGATE – No trains due to engineering work. There is an hourly express service between Wigan North Western and Manchester Victoria – last train to Wigan is at 5.50pm from Victoria
- WARRINGTON CENTRAL – No Northern trains to Manchester – customers should use other operators’ services
- ALDERLEY EDGE – One train every two hours – last train to Alderley Edge is at 4.39pm from Piccadilly
- MACCLESFIELD – One train every two hours – last train to Macclesfield is at 4.47pm
- BUXTON – One train per hour between Buxton and Manchester – last train to Buxton is at 5.24pm from Piccadilly
- ROSE HILL MARPLE – No trains
- ROCHDALE – One train per hour between Rochdale and Manchester – last train to Rochdale is at 5.17pm from Victoria
- HADFIELD/GLOSSOP – One train per hour in each direction – last train to Hadfield/Glossop is at 5.29pm from Piccadilly
And there are several other events around the north of England which may be affected by the RMT strike action:
Huddersfield Town v Brighton & Hove Albion – No Northern trains to and from Huddersfield, customers should use other operators’ services
Sheffield Utd v Leeds Utd – No Northern trains between Sheffield and Leeds, customers should use other operators’ services
Blackburn Rovers v Sheffield Wednesday – No Northern trains between Sheffield and Leeds or Leeds and Blackburn, customers should seek alternative methods of travel
Bolton Wanderers v Wigan Athletic – No Northern trains due to Network Rail engineering work – rail replacement buses are available
- First Direct Arena (Leeds) – Mumford and Sons
- Manchester Arena – Star Wars: A New Hope in Concert
- Metro Radio Arena (Newcastle) – Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds
- Echo Arena (Liverpool) – Magic of Motown
There are no Northern services after any of these events – customers should use other operators’ services or seek alternative means of transport.