Unions call off train strike but passengers still face two days of disruption at Corby, Kettering and Wellingborough

Suspension to allow for more talks came too late for East Midlands Railway to reinstate cancelled services

Rail passengers from Corby, Kettering and Wellingborough face two days of disruption
Rail passengers from Corby, Kettering and Wellingborough face two days of disruption

Unions last night called off a train strike affecting services through Corby, Kettering and Wellingborough — but rail operator East Midland Railway said the move came too late to prevent passengers facing two days of disruption.

Rail, Maritime and Transport leaders suspended strike action by train managers on East Midlands Railway InterCity and Connect 360 routes due to start at one minute past midnight on Friday (December 3).

The union said the move was to allow for talks on new proposals to resolve safety concerns.

But East Midlands Railway told passengers the call did not give them enough notice to reinstate services cancelled in anticipation of the walkout.

A statement on the operator's website said: “Although the RMT have now suspended their strike action, the extremely short notice provided means EMR will still be operating a reduced timetable.

“We wil be running a significant proportion of our services but please be aware a significantly reduced timetable will be in place across the East Midlands Railway network on Friday December 3 and Saturday December 4. ”

That means services will be halved with one train an hour each way at Corby and Wellingborough instead of two and three an hour at Kettering.

In a communication to members sent before 4pm on Thursday afternoon (December 2), the RMT said: “Your Union has constantly been trying to resolve this dispute and we are currently preparing proposals to be put to the company, which we believe will allow for a resolution to be found to the dispute.

"Therefore, the industrial action due to take place at 0001 on Friday December 3 until 2359 on Saturday is suspended.

"This is to allow further talks to take place. However, the Union will set out further strike dates for later this month which will be communicated to members in good time.

“This is to ensure management negotiates with the union in good faith and to focus the company’s mind in meeting our demands."

Train Managers on East Midlands Railway are unhappy with new working arrangements on the Class 360 Trains that the union believes are unsafe because they cannot walk between four-car units coupled together to form longer trains.