Passengers warned to expect disruption ahead of third Northern Rail strike

Northern services will be disrupted

Northern services will be disrupted

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More disruption is expected on rail services across Lancashire when guards stage a third walkout.

Rail union RMT has confirmed a further 24 hour strike on Arriva Rail North on Friday April 28 after the company failed to offer any progress at all in talks last week over the introduction of driver only operations

Pickets at Blackpool North during a previous strike

Pickets at Blackpool North during a previous strike

Arriva, owned by German state railway Deutsche Bahn, has made a commitment in its franchise agreement with the Department for Transport to operate 50 per cent of services as driver only within the next five year.

The company insists no jobs are at risk and a second member of staff will work on all trains.

But unions are concerned over changes to the role of guards, who currently carry out safety critical duties

The RMT has accused Arriva Rail North 'digging its heels in on the crucial issue of the guarantee of a second safety critical member of staff'.

It says the introduction of driver only working on half of trains is not acceptable.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “The public, who support RMT’s campaign for a guarantee of a guard on their trains, will be appalled that Arriva Rail North have failed to offer any kind of progress whatsoever in the talks and have instead opted to try and bulldoze through their plans regardless. It is that flagrant disregard for the safety issues at the heart of the dispute which leaves us with no option but to put on this further day of strike action.

“RMT commends our Arriva Rail North Members on their rock solid display of strength, resolve and unity during the action so far in opposition to the introduction of driver controlled operation and defence of the guards to guarantee a safer, securer and more accessible railway for all.

“The union continues to remain available for meaningful discussions with the company in order to seek a satisfactory resolution to the on-going dispute.”

Northern, which operates all services from Blackpool North and Blackpool South and a large number of services from Preston, Leyland and Chorley as well as services between Lancaster and Morecambe, Leeds and the Cumbrian coast, has warned passengers to expect disruption,

A statement on its website said: "We will do our best to keep you on the move.

"However, we will be operating a reduced service and expect all services to be busy.

"Customers are advised to give themselves more time to travel and to consider whether their journey is necessary."

During the last two strikes Northern has operated between one third and half of services.

On both occasions the firm maintained a direct link between Blackpool and Manchester Airport.