Rail strike timetable revealed for Sunderland, Seaham, Hartlepool, Seaton Carew and Billingham passengers

Northern staff will strike again next week.
Northern staff will strike again next week.
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Rail bosses have announced their emergency timetable to cover the latest in a series of strikes in a long-running safety dispute.

Passengers using Northern's Newcastle-Middlesbrough line between Sunderland, Seaham, Hartlepool, Seaton Carew and Billingham stations will face a reduced service from Saturday,

July 8, to Monday, July 10, during the action.

The strikes follows the breakdown of talks last month between Northern's parent coampny, Arriva Trains North, and the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union over the proposed introduction of Driver Only Operation (DOO) trains.

Northern expects to run on average more than 40 per cent of rail services across the three days with eight trains running in either direction on the Saturday and Monday between around

7.00-19.00.

Six services will head north from Middlesbrough on the Sunday between 9.31 and 16.32 with four heading in the opposite direction between 10.00 and 15.00.

Northern expects all services to be extremely busy and is asking customers to allow extra time for journeys, plan carefully and consider whether travel is necessary.

Sharon Keith, regional director for Northern, said: “Being able to run more than 40 per cent of services, supplemented by the extra rail replacement buses, means we will be able to keep

the north of England on the move.

“Our amended timetables have been developed to provide the best possible cover across the three days and to try to best meet the needs of our leisure customers at the weekend and

commuters on Monday.

“We have worked to prioritise services on our busiest routes, at the busiest times of day. But we expect all services to be busy and ask our customers to plan ahead accordingly.”

The RMT insisted the strike was inevitable because Arriva had "rejected point blank every attempt to try and broker a safe and sustainable settlement to the dispute".

In response, Arriva said it was disappointed that customers would suffer because of what it labelled as the union's refusal to get around the discussion table.

The RMT fears the introduction of new rolling stock is an excuse to axe guards and will reduce safety for passengers and staff alike on DOO trains although Arriva insists any changes will

meet national guidelines without compromising safety.

Full details of the emergency timetable are available here.