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Further England-wide rail strikes have started, potentially causing disruption across three different networks.
Arriva Rail North, Merseyrail and Southern RMT staff walked out for 24 hours from midnight in a row over driver-only-operated trains.
Some of the worst disruption is likely to hit people going to the Blackpool Illuminations switch-on later.
Arriva will run reduced services into the resort, with the last train leaving Blackpool before the switch-on.
The last train is due to leave at 19:40 BST due to limited staffing because of the industrial action.
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 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 19:00. For a few hours in the middle of each day, there will be no trains running. 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.
Strikes this year
- Workers from all three companies were on strike in March, on the day of the Grand National on 8 April and were on strike in early July
- Southern workers also took strike action in January and February
- Workers on Northern rail services carried out a 24-hour strike on 28 April, the first day of the Tour de Yorkshire cycle race
- After the Manchester attack on 23 May, the RMT suspended a planned 24-hour walkout by the three firms on 30 May
- Merseyrail workers were on strike on the final day of The Open golf tournament in Southport on 23 July
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