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Northern rail strike hits bank holiday weekend festivalgoers

Disruption and cancellations across north of England as two-thirds of services cut
People heading to Manchester Pride, Creamfields in Warrington and Leeds festival face disrupted weekend rail services across the north-west.
Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union at Northern rail are walking out for 24 hours on Saturday, and the company said it would operate fewer than a third of its usual services.
Few services at all would run before 9am and after 6pm, it said, as a result of the latest stoppage in a long-running dispute over the role of guards.
Northern also said there would be a number of planned cancellations on Sunday, as a result of engineering works, holidays and drivers not being available. Under the terms of their contracts, some Northern staff are not obliged to work on Sundays if they give managers seven days’ notice. Buses will replace some trains on both days.
Other events in the region likely to be affected include the Great British Rhythm and Blues festival in Colne, Bolton food and drink festival, Redcar races, Cartmel races and the York Ebor festival.
“All customers are advised to check before travelling and, where necessary, may want to seek alternative modes of transport,” Northern said.
On the roads, Highways England has cleared more than 300 miles of roadworks, but there were delays of at least an hour in both directions on the M6 near Walsall because of an incident at junction 10.
A man was standing on the wrong side of a motorway bridge and a specialist negotiator was on the scene, West Midlands police said.
The shadow transport secretary, Andy McDonald, blamed Northern rail and the government for the disruption of train services.
“The government and Northern rail should be focused on delivering reliable services and keeping fares down,” he said. “Instead, they are pushing ahead with staffing changes that will reduce accessibility for disabled passengers and increase safety risks.”
A Department for Transport spokesman said: “It is disappointing that the RMT is leading members out on strike, especially after agreeing to Acas talks.
“This dispute is not about jobs or safety. The independent rail regulator has ruled that driver-controlled trains, which have been used in this country for 30 years, are safe. Staff have also had their jobs and pay guaranteed for the length of the franchise.
“We urge the RMT to engage in meaningful talks so that full passenger services can resume.”