How does Friday's rail strike affect the North East and will I still be able to travel by train?

Passengers face more disruption on Friday when rail workers hold their third of three strikes this week.

Friday, 12th January 2018, 8:32 am
Updated Friday, 12th January 2018, 8:40 am
RMT staff on Northern trains are taking strike action on three separate days.

Here's all you need to know about the long-running dispute and how it might affect you:

Who is striking and when?

Members of the Rail and Maritime Workers (RMT) union working for Arriva Rail North, which runs Northern services throughout the North East, are taking industrial action on Friday, January 12, in the latest round of industrial action stretching back to last March. They were also on strike on Monday and Wednesday of this week.

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What services are disrupted?

Stations at Sunderland, Seaham, Hartlepool, Seaton Carew and Billingham are among those affected along the Newcastle-Middlesbrough line. An emergency timetable will operate on both days between 7am-7pm with seven trains running in either direction.

The full emergency timetable is available here.

What about other rail operators which use this route?

Grand Central, Virgin East Coast and Metro services are not affected.

What about other rail companies operating elsewhere?

If you are catching a connecting service then be aware that the dispute also includes staff working for South Western Railway (SWR), Merseyrail and Greater Anglia..

What If I've bought a ticket in advance for a service which is not now running?

Northern has arranged for a number of other train operators to help its customers who have bought Advance Purchase tickets (tickets will say AP Northern only).

What is the dispute about?

The RMT fears that Arriva Rail North's ongoing modernisation programme is partly a cover for threatening the long-term role of guards by introducing more driver-only trains.

It claims passenger and staff safety will be compromised "in the name of increased profits" and that 8,000 jobs nationwide are threatened.

What does Arriva Rail North say?

The company insists the improvements package as a whole will lead to updated trains, with better stations, faster journeys and a greater staff presence. The guards's jobs will also be protected until the end of Northern's existing franchise in 2025.

What happens next?

Difficult to say. The RMT claims Arriva Rail North wants staff to "surrender" to the demands regardless of the long-term consequences. Arriva Rail North wants the RMT to follow new legislation adopted since the start of the dispute and give its members a new ballot.

Anything else?

Afraid so. Additional delays are possible until Sunday, January 14, for passengers heading in and out of Newcastle Railway Station on all trains as engineers repair and replace points to make services more reliable.

Anyone planning on changing trains to travel to the MetroCentre is warned that buses will replace rail services during this period. Northern has issued a separate timetable for non-strike days until January 14 here.

Useful telephone numbers?

If the above links do not answer all your questions then contact Northern's helpline on 0800 200 6060. National Rail Enquiries is also available on 03457 484950.