Metro bosses confirm services will operate on Sunderland line on Wednesday after RMT strike is cancelled
Metro services will operate between Pelaw and South Hylton on Wednesday, after a planned strike was cancelled.
Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union had been due to walk out on Saturday, November 5; Monday, November 7; and Wednesday, November 9, in an ongoing row over pay, jobs and conditions.
Although the action would not have affected staff employed by Metro operator Nexus, services between Pelaw and South Hylton use stretches of track which are part of the national rail network owned and managed by Network Rail. If Network Rail does not have enough staff to operate signals, services cannot run.
The union announced on Friday, November 4, that it had called off the industrial action – but the move came too late to arrange shift cover for signaling on the line for Saturday or today.
But Nexus has announced that services will operate on the line on Wednesday and trains will run as normal tomorrow and Thursday – there had been warnings of disruption first thing as a knock-on effect from today and Wednesday’s stoppages.
Metro Operations Director, John Alexander, said: “We can confirm that we will have Metro services running on the Sunderland line on Wednesday 9 November.
“We are sorry for the inconvenience caused to customers be assured that we are doing all we can to run a full service with minimal disruption.
“Work has been ongoing to reinstate services following the short notice withdrawal of strike action by staff at Network Rail.
“The Sunderland line from Pelaw to South Hylton is owned and managed by Network Rail, so when they gave notice of the strike dates we had no choice but to cancel services on that line.
“The subsequent late withdrawal of the strike dates on Friday afternoon presented us with the challenge of re-arranging the train plan and resources needed to resume Metro services to and from Sunderland.
“The late notice meant it wasn’t possible to reinstate services between Pelaw and South Hylton on Saturday, 5 November, or Monday 7 November.
“We can also confirm that we will be able to start running as usual on Tuesday and Thursday morning between Pelaw and South Hylton.”
Sunderland Lib Dems had urged Nexus to ensure services operated on Wednesday.
Group leader Coun Niall Hodson said: “People in Sunderland are rightly fed up of being treated as second best by bosses at Nexus.
"Despite the national rail strike being called off two days ago, Metro are still blaming the strike for not having any services running today between South Hytlon and Pelaw.
"To add insult to injury, they haven’t even put a rail replacement bus service on.
“I have no doubt that if there was a similar situation affecting Newcastle city centre, Metro would have re-instated services. It just isn’t good enough.
“Transport chiefs need to urgently get a grip of the situation and make sure that Sunderland has a Metro service on Wednesday this week. To cancel the service, leave people in Sunderland stranded and blame it on a non-existent strike for a second day this week would be a step too far even for Nexus.”