More Sheffield rail services to be cancelled in driver dispute, warns union

A First Transpennine Express train.
A First Transpennine Express train.
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More Sheffield rail services are likely to be cancelled due to an overtime dispute involving Transpennine Express drivers, a union has warned.

Six TPE rail services through Sheffield were cancelled due to a lack of available staff on Friday - on the day the company’s ‘new look’ franchise for northern England was launched.

Keith Richmond, from ASLEF, said the ongoing dispute relating to working conditions is likely to result in further cancellations as drivers refuse to do voluntary overtime to replace unavailable colleagues.

He said: “The bottom line is that they haven’t got enough drivers.”

He said the drivers withdrawing from voluntary overtime will affect services ‘for the rest of the year’ unless the dispute is settled.

Mr Richmond said the company will not be able to deliver the timetable it has promised under the new franchise.

A Transpennine spokesman said: “Whilst we have enough drivers and spare capability to deliver our timetable, services can on occasion be affected by increased levels of sickness at depots. Previously we have been able to resource uncovered services by offering voluntary overtime.

“Disappointingly and unfortunately for our customers, ASLEF, the representing union have withdrawn from what is known as a Rest Day Working agreement.

“We have offered a number of resolutions to the areas of dispute to ASLEF but unfortunately no agreement has yet been reached.”

It comes after FirstGroup took sole control of the TPE franchise, having run the previous franchise in partnership with Keolis.

TPE say they will invest more than £500m in services over the next seven years, introducing extra seats and faster trains, in a bid to create an ‘outstanding intercity rail service’.