Preparations 'well underway' for Yorkshire rail strike next week

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October will begin with a headache for Yorkshire commuters as a Northern rail strike begins.

Rail trade union RMT confirmed preparations are well underway for next week’s action.

Commuters travelling on Northern services will be affected by two walk-outs, next Tuesday and Thursday, October 3 and 5.

The strikes come as a result of four separate disputes - on Northern, Southern, Merseyrail and Greater Anglia - over plans to axe train guards.

According to the RMT, the plans to extend Driver Only Operation put private profits before public safety. RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “RMT will not stand back while the guards, front-line staff when it comes to safety, security and access, are thrown off Britain’s trains for political and financial reasons.”

Affected routes include services to Leeds from Wakefield, Halifax, Bradford, Ilkley, Skipton and Doncaster.

Northern has defended the changes, which form part of a wider programme designed to improve services by 2020.

A spokesman said: “Our plans include 98 new trains, 243 upgraded trains and the recruitment of more people from across our business. Our new trains are now in production...and over 450 new people have joined the Northern team.

“To bring our improvements to life, we are proposing some changes to the conductor role to give you a better service. We are clear there will be no job or pay cuts as a result of our proposed changes, however the RMT has entered into dispute with Northern, which has resulted in several days of strike action, so far, in 2017.”

Only limited services will be running next Tuesday and Thursday. The majority of available trains will operate between 7am and 7pm, but services on some routes will finish earlier.

Trains and any replacement buses are expected to be extremely busy.

The exact routes affected are yet to be confirmed, and passengers are urged to check social media or call for updates.

Those delayed by more than 30 minutes will be able to claim compensation via the Northern website.