Metro passengers warned to avoid catching alternative train services ahead of two-day shut down during drivers strike

Metro passengers left stranded by a drivers strike have been urged not to try and board other train services during the two-day strike on the busiest days of the year.

Thursday, 19th December 2019, 1:25 am

Nexus, which runs the Tyne and Wear network, has told people it has been asked by fellow operator Northern Rail to “discourage” passengers from catching its trains between Sunderland and Newcastle.

The action has also seen members decline to work additional hours to meet a shortage of drivers.

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Stagecoach has said it is putting on additional services to help commuters travel between Newcastle, Sunderland and South Shields during the RMT drivers strike.

Northern has said it is looking at putting on extra carriages.

A spokesperson for Northern said: “We are working hard to give the best possible service for those looking to travel in the North East this weekend.

“We understand how important the weekend before Christmas is for travel and will do everything possible to provide additional capacity on our services to help people get where they need to be.”

Stagecoach will be running additional X24 and X34 services during the two-day Metro driver strike.

Stagecoach has announced it will operate extra buses on its half-hourly X24 and X34 routes.

The X24 operates from Fawcett Street, Sunderland to Newcastle city centre via Chester Road and Gateshead High Street.

Service X34 runs between South Shields and Pilgrim Street, Newcastle, via Boldon Asda and Gateshead High Street.

Malcolm Bell, operations manager at Stagecoach North East’s Sunderland depot, said: “Christmas approaches, a lot of people are relying on public transport for last-minute Christmas shopping or for their daily commute.

“While Metro services are unavailable, we want to remind everyone that bus travel is a cheap and convenient alternative, and to take advantage of our express services to avoid the stress of increased traffic congestion.”

Stagecoach is also assisting festive travel with a special half-hourly Sunday daytime timetable on both services, with the last on December 22.

The X24 will start from 10.07am in Sunderland until 5.25pm in Newcastle, while X34 trips depart from 10.14am in South Shields until 5.10pm in Newcastle.

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