Rail users faced disruption this morning as RMT strikes affected services on Merseyrail and Northern.
A limited timetable of trains every half hour from 7am to 7pm was planned on Merseyrail, but by mid morning the refusal of non-RMT drivers to cross the picket line meant all services were cancelled from midday. Merseyrail said services would resume at 2pm.
Some services ran this morning but were not calling at Hunts Cross, Ellesmere Port or Kirkby.
Northern ran replacement buses where possible but warned passengers to allow extra time for journeys and warned that services from Liverpool to Manchester and Leeds would be busier than normal.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “RMT’s action on Arriva Rail North [operator of Northern] this morning is absolutely rock solid and determined as our members fight for passenger safety and the retention of the guard on the Northern Rail services. Our pickets are out across the franchise and the response has been fantastic.
“Arriva Rail North should listen to their staff, listen to the public and recognise that there is no case whatsoever for axing the guard from their trains.
“This action could have been avoided if Arriva hadn’t back pedalled from earlier pledges to retain the guard. It is now down to the company to get that pledge back on the table and engage with the union in talks over a safe and sustainable future built around the guarantee of a guard on the trains.”
The strike is because RMT does not want driver-only trains to be introduced, it is calling for guards to be present on carriages to open doors and provide safety back-up.
Train operators insist the new fleets of driver-only trains are safe. Merseyrail said: “New state-of-the art trains that are safer, faster and more reliable will be introduced on the Merseyrail network by 2020.”