COMPANIES across the north have been drawing up contingency plans to get their staff to and from work on today, as RMT union members on Northern Rail stage a 24-hour walkout.
The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers has called its members out to protest at changes to the roles of guards on trains.
Northern Rail is required to operate half of its trains as “driver controlled” services in the future, though it has yet to announce plans.
Trains, or in some cases, replacement buses, will operate on most routes on Monday but there will be fewer services and the last journeys will run between 4.30 and 6pm. There will be no early morning services before around 7am.
With fewer services on the rails, those that remain are likely to be exceptionally busy. On the way home, as many as four trainloads of rush-hour commuters will have to squeeze on to the last tea-time services.
WHEN DOES THE STRIKE BEGIN AND END?
The 24-hour strike runs between midnight Sunday 12 March and midnight Monday 13 March.
WHAT ARE THE ALTERNATIVES?
Obviously, you can drive in, but the roads are expected to be much busier than usual. Buses are not affected by the strike but they, too, will be busy, especially during the rush hours.
Many people will choose to work from home on Monday, and Metro, the transport authority for West Yorkshire, is advising commuters to avoid “unnecessary journeys”.
Extra spaces will be available at the Park and Ride facility at Elland Road in Leeds.
ARE OTHER TRAIN OPERATORS AFFECTED?
The RMT is targeting Northern Rail, Merseyrail in Liverpool and Southern Rail on Monday. Yorkshire services from TransPennine Express, Hull Trains and Virgin East Coast are not affected.
CAN I USE MY TRAIN TICKET ON THE BUS?
You mean, do we have an integrated transport policy? Hardly - although Northern Rail’s parent company, Arriva, will accept train tickets on its buses only.
CAN I GET A REFUND ON MY SEASON TICKET IF I DON’T USE IT ON MONDAY?
ARE TRAIN GUARDS BEING MADE REDUNDANT?
No. Under the government’s modernisation plans, they will remain on board but will no longer have responsibilty for opening and closing the doors.