Rail walk-out causes misery for commuters
MORE travel misery has hit Christmas commuters with a walk-out by rail staff.
Only around 20% of Northern Rail’s services were operating yesterday as a result of industrial action by rail union RMT.
The revised timetable is in place again today with the conductors’ strike continuing until midnight.
RMT called the strike after a row with Northern Rail over rates of pay for the public holidays created by Christmas falling at the weekend.
More than 1,000 train conductors across the country are expected to leave their posts during the two-day action.
It means the operator has been forced to reduce from 2,500 trains a day to just 550, with only 40% of the network operational.
But Northern Rail said more services than anticipated were able to run after some conductors still turned in.
The disruptions sparked major problems for shoppers racing to the sales in a bid to beat the VAT rise.
Trains between Newcastle and the Metrocentre were scaled back to just 18 trains to ferry bargain-hungry shoppers between the two destinations.
The last train from Newcastle left at 4.54pm yesterday, and from Metrocentre at 6.13pm. The same timetable is expected to run today.
Northern Rail said services between Newcastle and Morpeth had escaped largely unscathed.
But trains between Carlisle and Hexham were hit hard with just six running throughout the day.