Train services are set to be severely disrupted this weekend as strikes and cancellations will hit Lancashire hard.
Only 30 per cent of services will be running by Northern this Saturday, with the RMT union entering the third of six weeks of industrial action.
On Sunday there will be planned cancellations on a small minority of routes, primarily in the north west, and Northern is warning travellers to check up to the last minute before travelling.
Services from Preston to Manchester and Preston to Blackpool will be affected.
Ongoing engineering work in and around Manchester will also see some disruption to services, particularly between Manchester and Liverpool, with Northern running an hourly service via Warrington Central. Services running via St Helens Junction will start and terminate at Newton-le-Willows with buses running to and from Manchester Oxford Road.
On Saturday Northern expects to run around 30% of services with customers advised to plan carefully if they intend to travel on the rail network.
READ MORE: Union extends strike action
hen the strikes started, RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “RMT has made every effort to get serious and meaningful talks going with Northern.
“But instead of making progress towards a settlement that matches the best practice in the rail industry as negotiated elsewhere the company have opted instead to play and fast and loose making a mockery of the exercise.
“It is the pig-headed and arrogant attitude of the company that has forced us to announce this next phase of action and to confirm that the strikes planned from Saturday go ahead.
“RMT members on Arriva Rail North have been in dispute for well over a year now in a battle to put public safety before private profit and we are angry and frustrated that a genuine opportunity to reach an agreement has been kicked back by the company.
“German-owned Northern Rail want to run nearly half a million trains a year without a safety critical guard on board in a move that would wreck both safety and access to services and they should listen to their front-line staff and pull back from that plan immediately.
“RMT recently secured an agreement on Greater Anglia that enshrine the guard guarantee. Similar agreements have also been reached in Wales and Scotland. Arriva Rail North need to do the right thing and come to an agreement that secures a guard on their trains too.
“We thank the public for their support and understanding throughout this dispute over rail safety and access and the union remains ready for genuine and serious talks.”
Full details of the timetable for the weekend can be found at nationalrail.co.uk