RMT Union V Merseyrail – Still no resolution

Passing Merseyrail trains at Aughton Park Station on Merseyrail’s Northern LIne to Ormskirk

It’s a while since I’ve dropped into the long-running dispute between RMT trade union and Merseyrail, but there’s been some recent movement. Here’s a link back to a previous posting of mine on this subject:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/09/06/merseytravel-merseyrail-liverpool-city-region-v-rmt-train-guards-dispute-ended-but/

And the movement? The latest peace deal has been rejected by Merseyrail’s RMT members in a ballot. According to the RMT website, there were 217 eligible members in the ballot of which 182 voted i.e. 84%. I often wonder why in such trade union ballots some members choose not to vote. Yes, there’ll be illness etc. but can we assume those not voting were not bothered either way? The result was 83 accepted the deal and 99 voted to reject it.

So far I’ve not been able to track down much else about where this long-running dispute is now headed and as an outsider looking in, even one who is a retired trade union officer, the alternatives look rather bleak to me. I’m wondering whether those voting no to the deal had an eye to the ticket checking (revenue protection) part of it and a wish not to have to? Although ticket checking onboard trains by guards is still reasonably common, not so on Merseyrail who seem to have opted more for mobile teams to enforce those travelling ticketless over the past few years. However, with this new and now rejected deal the guards, renamed Train Managers, would be walking through the new Class 777 Stadler trains checking tickets and of course, dealing with the confrontations flowing from such interactions with folk deliberately trying to travel for free. My feeling is that the revenue protection part of the new Train Manager’s job is aimed, at least in part, at raising more money to assist in paying the wages of the Train Managers*.

It will be interesting to see if the rejected deal now becomes the marker for another fully-fledged industrial dispute between Merseyrail and the RMT.

A Merseyrail train just noth of Maghull Station heading for Liverpool on the Ormskirk LIne.

* I keep coming back to a point that I’ve made many times before. The fact is that the Liverpool City Region ordered new trains which were intended to run without guards being required at all. On that basis, a dispute with the unions representing the train operator’s staff was always going to be on the cards. You can’t help but wonder if the Labour-run City Region was looking for a fight with Merseyrail’s trade unions all along? The City Region came unstuck when the RMT and passenger groups said they wanted a 2nd person onboard each Merseyrail train to aid passenger safety. This argument gained traction and the politicians were forced to back down.

New Merseyrail Trains – a construction video on You Tube

A mock-up of a Class 777 – The new Merseyrail trains that will soon replace the Class 507/508 EMU’s

Although Merseytravel posted this video – see link below – on 7th February I had not come across it before. It’s worth watching to see how the new trains are being built and the initial testing of them:-

www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOn07VAeGHU

‘From design concepts to the real thing; watch as the new trains for the Merseyrail network take shape from initial designs to the first train out on the test track in Europe!’

As I post this Merseyrail (still operating Class 507 & 508 units of course) have had their first Stadler unit (777 003) out on nocturnal testing along the Kirkby line of recent nights.

NOTE – Merseyrail are only offering a 30 minute frequency service presently due to the health crisis we find ourselves in.

A mock-up of a Class 777 Stadler EMU as displayed in Birkenhead a while back

Merseyrail – Some detail on those new trains now the first one is on test at Kirkdale

A mock-up of a Class 777 Stadler EMU as displayed in Birkenhead a while back

The Railway Gazette has the article on its website – see link below:-

www.railwaygazette.com/uk/merseyrail-class-777-arrives-in-liverpool/55686.article

A mock-up of a Class 777 – The new Merseyrail trains that will soon replace the Class 507/508 EMU’s

News on those new Merseyrail trains

A mock-up of a Class 777 Stadler EMU as displayed in Birkenhead a while back

Rail Color News has an article about the soon to be delivered first new train for the Merseyrail network – see link below:-

railcolornews.com/2020/01/06/uk-merseyrail-no-003-including-detrainment-door/

A mock-up of a Class 777 – The new Merseyrail trains that will soon replace the Class 507/508 EMU’s

Merseyrail – One of their new Class 777 EMU’s on the move

A mock-up of a Class 777 – The new Merseyrail trains that will soon replace the Class 507/508 EMU’s

On YouTube there’s a video of a brand new Stadler Merseyrail Class 777 on the move in Europe being taken to a test track from it’s place of manufacture – see link below:-

www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncIhJ137pLM

Kirkdale – New Stadler Depot for Class 777 train maintenance

I’m indebted to Keith Page for the lead to this posting, which is a video presentation of what the new Merseyrail train maintenance depot will look like when completed. The link below refers:-

www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWDXbAlruko

A mock-up of a Class 777 – The new Merseyrail trains that will soon replace the Class 507/508 EMU’s