Arriva Rail North Saturday strikes: how they will affect passengers east of the M60 motorway

After two months without strike action, there has been no sign of a resolution between Arriva Rail North and the RMT union. From Saturday [25 August], industrial action will resume on services operated by Arriva Rail North’s Northern franchise.

In addition to this coming Saturday’s strike, there will be subsequent strikes in September. That month will see five strike dates, all of which falling on Saturday. Whereas Northern’s long-suffering commuters may be relieved about the strikes not falling on weekdays, Saturday’s strike affects casual travellers. Particularly football fans or passengers wishing to see Blackpool Illuminations.

Further to this coming Saturday’s strike, Northern has warned passengers of further cancellations on the following Sunday, prior to Bank Holiday Monday. If you don’t need to get a Northern train this weekend you are in luck. If you do, expect longer journey times. If there are suitable alternatives in your locality, you may wish to consider them as a viable first choice.

How Northern’s services will be affected by the strike

On the 25 August, it is stated on the Northern website that Northern will operate 30% of its timetabled services. As with previous strike dates, services will finish between 7pm and 8pm. Services will operate as normal on routes operated by other rail franchisees and Open Access rail operators (i.e. Grand Central and First Hull Trains).

With a number of special events on this Saturday, expect busier trains than normal. Or rather, busier busiest trains. Failing that, stay at home.

Affected Routes east of the M60 motorway (25 August 2018)

  • Manchester Victoria – Stalybridge:
    • To Manchester Victoria: 0830, 0900, 0930, 1000, 1100, 1130 and hourly till 1530. Then 1600 and every half hour till 1930;
    • To Stalybridge: 0753 and every half hour till 1053. Then 1153 and hourly till 1423. Then every half hour from 1453 to 1853.
  • Manchester Piccadilly – Rose Hill Marple:
    • To Manchester Piccadilly: 0923, 1053, 1253, 1423, 1623, and 1823. No trains will call at Hyde North except for the 1107 and 1307 journeys. All trains which stop at Hyde North will not call at Fairfield;
    • To Rose Hill Marple: 0835, 1003, 1203, 1334, 1534 and 1735. No trains will call at Hyde North except for the 1018 and 1218 journeys. All trains which stop at Hyde North will not call at Fairfield.
  • Manchester Piccadilly – Hadfield/Glossop:
    • To Manchester Piccadilly (from Hadfield): 13 minutes past the hour from 0813 to 1713. Further trains at 1043, 1743, 1843 and 1943.
    • To Hadfield: 29 minutes past the hour from 0729 to 1629. Further trains at 0959, 1659, 1759 and 1859.
  • Manchester Victoria – Rochdale – Leeds:
    • To Manchester Victoria (from Todmorden): one minute to the hour from 0859 to 1859. A bus replacement service from Bradford Interchange (13 minutes past the hour) to Blackburn calls at quarter to the hour (from 0745 to 1945) outside Todmorden station. The 1913 journey terminates at Todmorden arriving at 2045.
    • To Manchester Victoria (from Rochdale): ten to the hour from 0750 to 1850. Also 16 minutes past the hour (non-stop to Manchester Victoria from Todmorden) from 0916 to 1816;
    • To Rochdale: 17 minutes past the hour from 0717 to 1817. Also four minutes to the hour from 0756 to 1756.
    • To Todmorden: Four minutes to the hour from 0756 to 1756. A bus replacement service from Blackburn (14 minutes to the hour) to Bradford Interchange calls at ten to the hour (from 0750 to 1950) outside Todmorden station.
  • Stockport – Stalybridge:
    • No service.
  • Manchester Piccadilly – Marple – Sheffield:
    • No service from most stations along the Hope Valley Line except for Romiley (via Rose Hill Marple trains). Sheffield bound passengers should catch First Transpennine Express’ and East Midlands Trains’ services via Stockport.

Unless we know different, September’s strike day timetable should be similar to the details seen above.

Alternative methods of transport

If your nearest station has fewer services (or none if you wish to travel from Reddish South or Denton), here’s our list of alternative ways to get to Manchester, Rochdale and Marple.

  • Ashton-under-Lyne: 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.
  • 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 201 to Hyde and try for the skeleton service to Rose Hill Marple from Hyde Central station.
  • Fairfield: Stagecoach Manchester’s regular 219 service is a good alternative.
  • Gorton: as with Fairfield, the 219 is a good shout. Or you could walk a little further in the opposite direction for the 201, 203, 204, 205, and 206 services.
  • Hyde North: for Manchester Piccadilly, you could try the skeleton service from Flowery Field station (supposing the wooden platforms can take the weight of the extra passengers). 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.
  • Strines: your next nearest station is Rose Hill 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: for Manchester-bound journeys, consider the 330 bus down to Stockport and any Manchester Piccadilly-bound train as a back-up plan.

Before You Go…

Allow extra time for your journey. 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.

Useful References and Resources

For further updates on the strike, Northern’s website and Twitter feed will stand you in good stead for this weekend, and the next five Saturdays.

In Brief:

  • Industrial Action is about the safety issues of DOO (Driver Only Operation), involving the RMT union with Arriva Rail North;
  • 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);
  • Normal timetable on Metrolink services.

S.V., 23 August 2018.

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