The North West events that could be affected as train strikes are extended through December

Delays and cancellations have dogged the region's railways this year
Delays and cancellations have dogged the region's railways this year

Football matches and pop concerts are some of the events which train service operator Northern says will be affected by strike action on five Saturdays in December.

The train operator says RMT strike action, planned for 1,8,15,22 and 29 December, will see very few Northern services running after 5pm.

Northern has called for RMT to suspend its December strike action and return to talks at ACAS. It says RMT has made agreements with other train operators that it refuses to discuss with Northern.

David Brown, managing director at Northern, said: “By the end of December, we will have had 19 consecutive Saturdays of RMT strike action. This targeted action disrupts our customers’ lives. But, as we enter a vital period for businesses, it also damages the economic wellbeing of the north of England.

“This Saturday, we are introducing a new timetable for RMT strike days that will deliver stable and consistent train services for our customers on each strike Saturday in December.

“We have fantastic colleagues who have supported customers by keeping our trains running on each of the RMT strike days. We are aiming to keep as many people moving as possible and ensuring customers can still travel into the biggest towns and cities for the big seasonal events including Christmas markets – but with very few services running after 5pm.

“We expect all of our services and those of other operators to be extremely busy and are calling on our customers to plan their travel carefully for the coming weekend, check the new timetables well in advance, and make sure they do not rely on the last trains home.”

But RMT general secretary Mick Cash earlier this week said the strikes were a "long-running fight for safety, security and access on our trains while the private train companies gamble with their passengers well-being".

He said: "RMT has written yet again to both companies seeking talks around the principle of putting safety on the railway first and both have refused to even respond. That stalemate cannot be allowed to continue as it makes a mockery of normal industrial relations and the negotiating process.

"It's time for both these companies to stop taking instructions from this shambles of a government, get out of the bunker and start talking seriously and positively with the union on the issue of the guard guarantee instead of gambling with public safety as they pump up their profits.

"We thank the public for their continuing support and understanding that these disputes are all about safety and passenger service on Britain's increasingly violent and dangerous railways."

Ongoing engineering work in some areas will also result in changes to some services over the weekend, particularly between Hull and Sheffield, Hull and York, Manchester and Crewe, Manchester and East Lancashire, Wigan and Manchester and Blackpool and York.

Specific route details below:

Manchester Christmas Markets services

BOLTON – No trains due to engineering work - rail replacement buses in operation
KIRKBY – No trains
LIVERPOOL – No Northern trains to Manchester – customers should use other operators’ services
WIGAN WALLGATE – No trains due to engineering work. There is an hourly express service between Wigan North Western and Manchester Victoria – last train to Wigan is at 5.50pm from Victoria
WARRINGTON CENTRAL – No Northern trains to Manchester – customers should use other operators’ services
ALDERLEY EDGE – One train every two hours – last train to Alderley Edge is at 4.39pm from Piccadilly
MACCLESFIELD – One train every two hours – last train to Macclesfield is at 4.47pm
BUXTON – One train per hour between Buxton and Manchester – last train to Buxton is at 5.24pm from Piccadilly
ROSE HILL MARPLE – No trains

ROCHDALE – One train per hour between Rochdale and Manchester – last train to Rochdale is at 5.17pm from Victoria
HADFIELD/GLOSSOP – One train per hour in each direction – last train to Hadfield/Glossop is at 5.29pm from Piccadilly

And Northern is warning there are several other events around the north of England which may be affected by the RMT strike action:

Football

Huddersfield Town v Brighton & Hove Albion – No Northern trains to and from Huddersfield, customers should use other operators’ services

Sheffield Utd v Leeds Utd – No Northern trains between Sheffield and Leeds, customers should use other operators’ services

Blackburn Rovers v Sheffield Wednesday – No Northern trains between Sheffield and Leeds or Leeds and Blackburn, customers should seek alternative methods of travel

Bolton Wanderers v Wigan Athletic – No Northern trains due to Network Rail engineering work – rail replacement buses are available

Other

First Direct Arena (Leeds) – Mumford and Sons

Manchester Arena – Star Wars: A New Hope in Concert

Metro Radio Arena (Newcastle) – Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds

Echo Arena (Liverpool) – Magic of Motown

There are no Northern services after any of these events – customers should use other operators’ services or seek alternative means of transport.

Full details of Northern’s timetables for the RMT strike on Saturday 1 December can be found online at northernrailway.co.uk/strike or at nationalrail.co.uk.