Belfast Telegraph

Grand National racegoers' journeys disrupted by rail workers strike

A strike by rail workers disrupted travel to the Grand National on one of the biggest days of industrial action in the current wave of disputes over staffing and driver-only trains.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) at Merseyrail, Arriva Trains North and Southern walked out for 24 hours, with further stoppages not being ruled out.

Picket lines were mounted outside stations and union members were said to be solidly supporting the action.

Members of the drivers' union Aslef refused to cross picket lines. Merseyrail said it transported around 12,000 people to Aintree for the Grand National, compared with 18,000 last year.

Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT, said: "Support for all three strikes today is rock solid with pickets out in force and morale high as our members on Southern, Northern and Merseyrail continue the fight for rail safety.

"It is down to all three companies to now get round the table with union negotiators and reach settlements based on the guarantee of a guard and a safe railway for all."

Arriva Trains north said its services were reduced significantly, with the last trains leaving Liverpool Lime Street by mid evening.

The Merseyrail and Arriva disputes are over new driver-only trains coming into service in 2020, while the Southern row is now a year old, with the RMT taking its 31st day of strike action on Saturday.

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