Union deal could help in rail crisis

A deal has been struck which could speed up driver training
A deal has been struck which could speed up driver training
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Passengers on the beleaguered county rail network could be in line for some relief after unions struck a deal with trains operator Northern.

ASLEF has agreed to its members working on rest days to help fill cabs as Norther struggles to train all its drivers on the new routes and trains.

No financial details of the deal on Thursday have emerged but it resulted in fewer cancellations on the reduced temporary timetable imposed across the region.

Blackpool-based rail champion Stephen Brookes said: “The immediate reaction is one of relief that some sense has finally come into this. What I am finding more and more in this role is that the rail companies, unions and infrastructure organisations involved do not talk to each other enough.

“We don’t get the full story, just confusion and the passengers are left not knowing what is going on.”

Northern has blamed delays in electrification work for holding up driver training.

An ASLEF spokesman said Northern did not employ enough drivers: “We have come to a rest day working agreement with Northern Rail – an agreement by which drivers will work on days that they should be off – to help the company through a problem of its own making.”