England

TransPennine rail union strike under way

Passengers queuing to get onto FTPE train
Image caption Passengers at Huddersfield station faced a limited number of FTPE trains to Leeds due to the strike

The first of two 24-hour strikes on First TransPennine Express (FTPE) trains has started after pay talks between unions and bosses broke down.

The strike, by train drivers from the Aslef and RMT unions, started at 00:01 BST on Wednesday and is causing disruption across the north of England.

There is a limited service between Sheffield and Manchester, as well as between York, Leeds and Manchester.

FTPE said it hoped to run about a quarter of its services on Wednesday.

An Aslef spokesman said talks had broken down on Tuesday afternoon.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) said it had suspended its action by conductors and station staff it had planned for Wednesday as officials considered a new offer.

'Additional services'

But action by drivers who are members of the RMT has gone ahead as planned.

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Media captionAslef's Nick Whitehead said rail passengers should ask the rail company why it refused to continue talks

First TransPennine Express usually operates services between Leeds, York, Sheffield, Manchester, Liverpool, Hull and Newcastle.

It also serves areas in Lancashire, including Blackpool, Preston and Lancaster.

FTPE said it was operating additional services "as and when" train crew became available.

Vernon Barker, FTPE managing director, said he wanted to "thank passengers for their patience".

"We recognise that we have not been able to provide our normal level of service, however I'm pleased that we have been able to keep customers moving," he said.

"We are delivering our amended timetable with additional services on top of that and in the majority of cases we have been able to run longer trains meaning more capacity for customers."

'Ruin my day'

There was a mixed response to the strike among early morning commuters at Leeds City station.

One commuter, whose train to Manchester was cancelled, said the industrial action would badly affect his day.

"It's going to pretty much ruin my day and I'm going to be working very late," he said.

Another commuter, travelling to Hull, said the industrial action had come as a surprise.

He said: "I didn't know about the strike, but I hope it doesn't affect me.

"I have a feeling I'm going to end up having to phone work."

Members of the RMT and Aslef unions had voted to take strike action after rejecting a 2.2% pay offer.

A second day of planned strike action is set take place on Friday.

The second strike would coincide with the run-up to the bank holiday weekend, Manchester Pride and the Leeds Festival.

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