First day of Northern Rail strike hits travellers

A reduced service on Northern Rail is operating today as part of the first day of planned strike action by RMT union members.

Train users hoping to travel home from the illuminations should find alternative methods of transport
Train users hoping to travel home from the illuminations should find alternative methods of transport

Northern Rail said it will run over 900 services on Friday September 1 and Monday September 4 between 7am and 7pm, with final services on some routes finishing before 7pm.

The strike is expected to impact rail users planning to make the trip to the Blackpool Illuminations switch-on by train as the final services will depart Blackpool well before the event finishes.

A spokesman for Northern Rail said: "If you are travelling on Friday 1 September to the opening nights of Blackpool Illuminations or Bingley Music Live, please be aware the last Northern services will depart well in advance of closing time for both events.

"If you travel on a strike day and experience a delay of 30 minutes or more to your journey, you are eligible to compensation through Northern’s Delay Repay scheme. Customers with season tickets that don’t include buses, trams or ferries, who decide not to travel due to strike action, can also claim compensation."

Union members have said they are striking over Northern's plans to introduce driver-only-operated trains.And the RMT has warned Northern Rail staffing plans breach the company’s existing legal commitments to protect older and disabled passengers.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “Currently, under the terms of their own operating licence – agreed with the rail regulator – Northern Rail have to comply with their commitment to older and disabled passengers that there will be a Conductor on every train.

"This means there will always be assistance available to get on and off the train and there will also always be assistance available when on board the train. It also guarantees there will always be a Conductor to inform and protect older and disabled passengers in emergencies and carry out evacuations.”“Northern’s latest message to their own staff that the company no longer wish to provide this protection and assistance for older and disabled passengers is an absolute scandal and rolls the clock back on the rights of older and disabled people.”