Northern and Merseyrail Electrics Rail Strike Update: Three January Dates

News of the latest Arriva Rail North and Merseyrail Electrics strike dates

Following on from last year’s strikes, the first normal working week of 2018 will see three rail strikes in Northern England. As well as Northern’s dispute, Merseyrail Electrics staff will also be striking on the same days.

The three strikes will take place on Monday 08 January, Wednesday 10 January, and Friday 12 January. Passengers travelling between Manchester or Preston and Merseyside will see little or no trains by Northern and Merseyrail Electrics. As with previous strike days, fewer services, bus replacement services in some cases, and an early finish. Season tickets who choose not to travel on the three days can claim compensation via the Delay Repay scheme.

Timetable Overview, 08, 10, and 12 January:

East Midlands Trains/Transpennine Express

Normal weekday services. Due to Northern’s reduced services, expect TPE trains to be busier than usual. Especially on Manchester – Liverpool journeys from Victoria and Piccadilly stations. Expect more of the same on East Midlands Trains’ journeys between Liverpool and Sheffield, and on TPE’s services from Manchester Airport to Cleethorpes.

Metrolink

Normal weekday services. Some trams might have four cars instead of the usual two cars. Expect to see busier trams.

FirstGroup/Stagecoach/Arriva/independent bus operators

Normal weekday services though with some further delays due to increased congestion on the roads. Expect some late running due to schoolday traffic patterns.

Northern services east of the M60 motorway

  • Huddersfield to Stalybridge: limited bus replacement service calling at all stations between Stalybridge and Huddersfield. These depart at five past the hour from 0805 to 1805 from Huddersfield. Then 0720, 0750, and twenty past the hour from 0820 to 1820 and 1850 from Stalybridge.
  • Stalybridge to Manchester Victoria: limited hourly service with AM and PM peak extras starting at 0746 from Stalybridge to Manchester Victoria till 1847. From Manchester Victoria, more of the same starting at 0726 towards Stalybridge, until 1823.
  • Hadfield/Glossop line: limited hourly service with three extra peak hour trains in each direction.
  • Rose Hill Marple and New Mills Central lines: very limited service on both lines. Only seven return journeys from Hyde North, Hyde Central, Woodley, and Rose Hill Marple stations. Last train from Manchester Piccadilly to Hyde North, Hyde Central, Woodley, and Rose Hill Marple leaves at 1717. No trains calling at Fairfield, Belle Vue, and Ryder Brow stations.
  • Calderdale line: limited service with some Yorkshire trains terminating at Rochdale, Hebden Bridge, and Halifax. No direct trains north of Todmorden along Calder Valley line to Manchester Victoria.
  • Stockport to Stalybridge train (FO dep. 0900): no service.

Merseyrail Electrics service changes

  • Liverpool stations to Southport: limited half hourly service with no trains calling at Freshfield, Hall Road, Bootle Oriel Road, Bank Hall, and Sandhills.
  • Liverpool stations to Ormskirk: limited half hourly service with no trains calling at Aughton Park, Town Green, and Sandhills. All journeys will begin at Maghull instead of Ormskirk.
  • Liverpool stations to Kirkby: no service.
  • Liverpool stations to West Kirby: limited half hourly service terminating at James Street. No trains will call at Bidston, Manor Road, Birkenhead Park, Conway Park and all other Liverpool stations (Central, Moorfields, Lime Street Low Level).
  • Liverpool stations to New Brighton: limited hourly service terminating at James Street. Again, no other Liverpool stations will be served.
  • Liverpool stations to Chester: limited half hourly service between Hooton and James Street. No other Liverpool stations, nor stations south of Hooton will be served.
  • Liverpool stations to Hunts Cross: no service.
  • Liverpool stations to Hooton and Ellesmere Port: no service.

Please note that Merseyrail and Northern tickets will also be valid on Arriva buses during the strike days – outside the AM and PM peaks. Also, valid Cross River train tickets will be valid on Mersey Ferries. Usual off-peak restrictions apply to Saveaway tickets (which are topped up on your Walrus card).

Alternative methods of transport

If your nearest station has little or no services on the three days, here’s our list of alternative ways to get to Manchester, Huddersfield and Marple. Please note that season tickets along affected routes are valid on all Arriva bus routes (plus Yorkshire Tiger routes).

  • Ashton-under-Lyne: if you cannot be bothered with the strike day services, the tram or several 216s and 219s to Piccadilly Gardens could be a suitable alternative. If you’re heading towards Stalybridge, First Greater Manchester’s 348 is your most direct route. Stagecoach Manchester’s 236 and 237 services are a good choice too. For Mossley and Greenfield (First Greater Manchester’s 350, 353, and 354 services are worth considering.
  • Belle Vue: Stagecoach Manchester’s 201, 203, 204, 205, 206 and 207 services continue to Piccadilly Gardens (a Stagecoach Day Rider may be a good option, as well as a good book and a fully charged smartphone). For journeys to Marple, Romiley, and Bredbury, the 203 to Stockport then a 383 or 384 could be a good option. Or you could get a 203 to Reddish North and try for the skeleton service to Marple.
  • Fairfield: Stagecoach Manchester’s regular 219 service is a good alternative. In the morning peak, there are four Manchester-bound journeys of the 221 service from Dukinfield (three in the evening peak in the reverse direction).
  • Gorton: as with Fairfield, the 219 and 221 services are worth considering. Or you could walk a little further in the opposite direction for the 201, 203, 204, 205, 206 and 207 services.
  • Greenfield: the easiest way of getting to Manchester, besides the train, is a 180 or 184 bus straight to Piccadilly Gardens. Alternatively, you could alight at Mumps Bridge and change over to a tram. First Greater Manchester’s 184 service offers an hourly connection with Marsden, Slaithwaite, and the other Colne Valley villages without a station. Travelling to Ashton-under-Lyne and Mossley means First Greater Manchester’s and 350, 353 and 354 services. The 353 and 354 also call at Stalybridge bus station.
  • Hyde North: for Manchester Piccadilly, you could also try the skeleton service from Flowery Field station as well as one of Hyde North’s fourteen journeys (seven each way). Alternatively, you could get a 330 to Ashton-under-Lyne and change for a tram, or walk along Johnson Brook Road for the 340 (early evenings and Sunday daytime), 343, or 389 buses to Stalybridge and change for a Transpennine Express service.
  • Hyde Central: Stagecoach Manchester’s 201 service is a viable alternative. You can also catch the 204 (after 7pm), 206 and 207 (peak hours only), though they offer a less direct route than the 201. Hyde North passengers could also try for the same buses by catching a Hyde-bound 330.
  • Marsden: First West Yorkshire and First Greater Manchester have buses every ten minutes to Huddersfield in the daytime. The 184 from Manchester and Oldham is only once hourly.
  • Mossley: there are two ways of getting to Manchester on Monday besides the bus replacement service. You can get the 340 (early evenings), 343, 353, or 354 into Stalybridge for Transpennine Express’ journeys. Or you could take the 350, 353, or 354 into Ashton-under-Lyne for a tram. Travelling to West Yorkshire is more finicky: you need to get a 350, 353, or 354 to Uppermill for the 184 service to Huddersfield (plus Marsden and Slaithwaite).
  • Slaithwaite: a few miles east on the A62, Slaithwaite benefits from the same high frequency corridor of buses as Marsden.
  • Strines: your next nearest station is Marple, where Northern’s skeleton service will start from. A taxi or short drive may be needed, especially as the 358 bus stops some distance away from Marple station.
  • Woodley: try Stagecoach Manchester’s 330 service to Bredbury station for the skeleton service into Manchester Piccadilly as an alternative. Or, get the 330 to Ashton-under-Lyne for the tram. As the 389 bus hasn’t served Woodley since April 2009, a journey to Romiley or Marple may be best done on foot along the Peak Forest Canal.

Before You Go…

Allow extra time for your journey, especially on Monday where some schools might be starting again. In other words, keep your digital devices fully charged (that free WiFi access will come in handy), take a good book with you as well. On the skeleton services, expect them to be busier than usual. Likewise with the trams and the buses, though Metrolink may be providing reinforcements on Monday (more trams and/or longer trams).

If you are travelling between Manchester and Liverpool, expect to see busier trains on Transpennine Express and East Midlands Trains journeys. The 061 National Express coach could be a viable alternative between the two cities – and Leeds. From Manchester to Leeds, you could give the Transdev CityZap service a whirl.

Useful References and Resources

For further updates on the strike, Northern’s website and Twitter feed will stand you in good stead for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. If your normal journey involves the Northern, City, or Wirral lines, Merseyrail Electrics’ Twitter feed and website should be of help.

In Brief:

  • Industrial Action is about the safety issues of DOO (Driver Only Operation), involving the RMT union;
  • Normal service on First Transpennine Express, Virgin, Arriva Trains Wales, East Midlands Trains, and London Midland routes;
  • Limited service on Northern routes, with some areas having no service at all (where alternative modes may exist);
  • Season tickets valid on Arriva Bus services (including Yorkshire Tiger services) in Yorkshire, Merseyside, and Greater Manchester.

S.V., 07 January 2018.

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