Potential travel complications for Redcar festival-goers, as Northern Rail strikes continue this Saturday

20 September 2018

With thousands expected to make their way to Kirkleatham Museum for this weekends Festival of Thrift, Saturday's much reduced train time table could result in travel disruption in the area

Weekend travel plans for many, including those looking to head to the award-winning Festival of Thrift this Saturday are likely to be effected as the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) Union confirmed industrial action will continue this Saturday. 

Awarded 2017’s Best Event Teesside, the festival, which features live music, artistic performances, exhibitions and workshops around the theme of sustainable living, attracted over 45,000 visitors last years. 

Organisers have been encouraging visitors to make their way to the event by public transport where possible.

However the strike action by Northern Rail staff, as part of an ongoing dispute over the role of train guards and rail safety, has resulted in train operator Northern Rail confirming a much reduced time table impacting festival goers travel choices.

In a statement on the Northern Rail website, it advisers travelers; 

"This Saturday, 22 September - the third Saturday of RMT strike action - we are operating a reduced timetable with very few trains running before 9am and after 6pm. 

"We expect to run around 30% of services and all customers are advised to plan carefully if they intend to travel on the nail network."

Before continuing to advise; 

"This weekend also sees a number of significant events taking place throughout the North of England and customers are reminded of the impact the amended timetables will have on travel to and from those events.

All customers are advised to check before travelling and, where necessary, may want to seek alternative modes of transport."

A search of the National Rail website for trains travelling the Saltburn line between Middlesbrough and Redcar Central stations reveals there are only three scheduled services for Saturday before 9am, with the last of those leaving at 8:48.

The following service, for the journey that typically takes around 10 minutes, is at 11:07am, with the next after that following at 13:08pm.

Return journeys could also prove problematic with the afternoons trains scheduled to return to Middlesbrough Central leaving at 13:57, 14:57, 15:57 and 16:55, before a final train at 18:57pm.

Visitors attempting to get to the #thriftfest by rail on the Sunday may also find complications, with Northern Rail highlighting; 

"On Sunday there will be planned cancellations on a small minority of routes, primarily in the north west and again customers should check up to the last minute before travelling."

In a statement on the RMT's website concerning the industrial action and the latest collapse in talks between the union and rail operator, RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said;

"RMT is angry and frustrated tonight that a genuine attempt to broker a solution to the ARN (Arriva North Rail) dispute has once again been collapsed by the intransigence of the company. 

"ARN continue to refuse to match the best practice in the industry on the guard guarantee and seem hell-bent on continued conflict."

This latest set of strikes represents the third round of industrial action take by Northern Rail staff this year, following earlier strikes in March and June. 

A further day of strike action is also planned for the 29th September, the following Saturday, representing the sixth day of strike action taken in total.

The FREE to enter two-day Festival of Thrift runs from 10am - 5pm this Saturday and Sunday, with the brand new festival parade launching the festival on Friday at 6:30pm starting from the Community Heart on Coatham Road. 

The X3 and X4 bus services from Middlesbrough Bus Station to Redcar are unaffected by the strike action taking place. 

Car parking is also available at the event priced at £5 per vehicle. 

For more details about the Festival of Thrift, go to www.festivalofthrift.co.uk or check out The Southernist's report here: Multi-award-winning Festival of Thrift returns to Redcar THIS weekend

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