Grand National travel trouble for passengers on strike day

David Pipe believes Randox Health Grand National favourite Vieux Lion Rouge "ticks a lot of the boxes" ahead of the world's greatest steeplechase at Aintree on Saturday
David Pipe believes Randox Health Grand National favourite Vieux Lion Rouge "ticks a lot of the boxes" ahead of the world's greatest steeplechase at Aintree on Saturday

Rail passengers heading to one of the region’s biggest sports fixtures will face major disruption after timetables for a day of strike action this weekend were revealed.

Northern will run 822 trains, just over 32 per cent of its normal service, on Saturday as RMT staff down tools in an ongoing dispute over retaining guards.

The firm has had to admit some stations and routes will not be covered and is advising passengers to leave plenty of time for journeys.

The operator’s main focus is getting thousands of racegoers to and from Aintree for the Grand National.

Two trains an hour will depart from Wigan North Western, starting at 9.30am, and St Helens Central will also have half-hourly services beginning at 9.50am.

However, punters are warned the last train leaves Liverpool Lime Street at 6.30pm, well before the programme finishes. Racegoers wishing to stay late will have to find other routes or alternative transport.

Paul Barnfield, regional director for Northern, said: “We are doing everything we can to keep customers on the move on Saturday. Unfortunately planned strike action will severely limit our services, with the majority of the trains that we do run operating between 9am and 5pm.

“All of Northern’s services will be limited and we ask customers to plan their travel carefully.”

Northern is warning all services will be busy and asks people to consider if journeys are necessary.

Information will be available at northernrailway.co.uk/industrialaction or www.journeycheck.com/northern or by following @northernassist on Twitter.