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Northern Rail is only running SIX trains out of Chester on strike day

Rail provider heavily reducing services during staff walkout

Northern Rail(Image: Northern)

Staff strikes mean Northern Rail will only be putting on six trains out of Chester this Saturday (April 8).

Services from Ellesmere Port as well as Frodsham and Helsby are cancelled altogether on the day of the Grand National.

RMT Trade Union members are due to hold a 24-hour walkout for the second time over the issue of driver-only trains.

The industrial action also affects Merseyrail, meaning there will be no Wirral Line trains to Chester or Ellesmere Port either.

Northern, which usually runs direct to Manchester Piccadilly from the city more than once an hour, will instead only operate six services throughout the day. They will terminate at Altrincham.

Arriva Trains Wales will still be running from North Wales to Manchester via Chester.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “The continuing refusal of the company to give a simple, lasting guarantee that protects the safety-critical role of the guard on their trains leaves RMT with no option but to announce this further day of strike action.

“This dispute was entirely preventable if the company had listened to the unions deep-seated safety concerns, had taken them seriously, stuck to their earlier commitments and had put passenger safety before profit.

“The company’s intransigence has forced our hand and given us to option but to announce this latest phase of industrial action.

"The disruption to services will be entirely down to Arriva Rail North reneging on their earlier commitments."

RMT union members

Across their network, Northern are expected to run about a third of their usual services.

Northern regional director Paul Barnfield said they were doing everything they could to keep customers on the move.

"Unfortunately planned strike action will severely limit our services, with the majority of the trains that we do run operating between 9am and 5pm," he said.

“All of Northern’s services will be limited and we ask customers to plan their travel carefully.”

The RMT carried out its first strike in the dispute over driver-only trains on March 13.

The walkout had an even greater impact than expected as drivers refused to cross the picket line.

Sides have returned to the negotiating table since then, but were unable to come to an agreement.

Merseyrail

Because of the big race, Merseyrail is prioritising services to Aintree.

This means other routes will be affected, with the Wirral Line running less frequently and terminating at Hooton.

Merseyrail(Image: Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror)

A Merseyrail spokesperson said: “The action being taken by the RMT on the city region’s busiest day of the year will affect others not travelling to and from Aintree, and in the interests of public safety, Merseyrail has prioritised the route to Aintree from the city-centre.

“As a result, there will be fewer trains or no trains at all on other parts of the network, although rail replacement buses will run on certain lines and services on key bus routes will be strengthened.

Full details are here.

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