England

Northern, Merseyrail and Southern rail staff strike

Picket line Piccadilly Station
Image caption Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) are staging a 24-hour walkout

Workers from three different rail networks staged strikes in a continuing row over driver-only operated trains.

Northern, Merseyrail and Southern RMT staff walked out for 24 hours from midnight on Friday in the first day of industrial action.

Further strikes are planned on Sunday and Monday.

The RMT is also due to ballot members on South Western Railway, just days after the firm took over services from London Waterloo.

Some of the worst disruption on Friday hit 20,000 people going to the Blackpool Illuminations switch-on.

Arriva had run reduced services into the resort with the last train leaving the seaside resort before the ceremony began.

The last train left at 19:40 BST due to limited staffing because of the industrial action.

However, Blackpool Council offered free parking from 16:00 BST in its pay-and-display car parks to help visitors.

Services to and from Blackpool will operate as normal over the weekend.

Image copyright VisitBlackpool
Image caption Services to and from Blackpool will operate as normal during the weekend

Another 24-hour stoppage will affect Northern commuters on Monday.

Staff at Merseyrail will also be on 24-hour strikes on Sunday and Monday.


Rail strike disruption

  • Northern - Northern, which is part of the Arriva Group, aims to run more than 900 services during Friday and Monday's strikes. The majority of trains will run between 07:00 and 19:00 with services on some routes finishing earlier. During these hours the overall number of trains operating will be significantly reduced.
  • Merseyrail - On Friday and Monday trains will run only between approximately 07:00 and 19:00. On Sunday trains will run only between approximately 08:00 and 18:00 and no trains running between 11:00 and 14:00. On all three strike dates, there will be no trains running on the Ellesmere Port, Hunts Cross and Kirkby lines.
  • Southern - Southern said it was planning to run 90% of services during the action on Friday and Monday, but advises passengers to check before they travel.

The RMT union is in dispute with the three companies over driver-only-operated trains, which it says would be unsafe and lead to widespread job losses.

General secretary Mick Cash said a "flagrant disregard for the safety issues at the heart of the dispute which leaves us with no option but to press on with the campaign of strike action".

Sharon Keith, Northern's regional director said: "We are really sorry for any inconvenience this will cause people attending what is one of Blackpool's key showcase events.

"We are trying to keep people updated and on the move as much as possible on both strike days and again, are urging them to plan ahead."

VisitBlackpool said 20,000 tickets had been allocated for the switch-on concert at the Tower Festival Headland Arena, which features Louisa Johnson, Conor Maynard, Diversity and a Star Trek themed switch-on.

Image copyright European Photopress Agency
Image caption Southern said about 90% of its services are running

Strikes this year

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption There have been many rail strikes in England during 2017

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