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Last Updated: Sunday, 12 December, 2004, 09:54 GMT
Rail pay dispute talks break down
Midland Mainline
Buses will replace Midland Mainline trains on Sunday
There will be no Midland Mainline rail services on Sunday after talks to avoid industrial action broke down.

The dispute is between managers and the Aslef union over pay. It comes on the day new rail timetables are introduced nationwide as part of a major shake-up.

Midland Mainline is laying on buses from the stations south of Derby to Bedford, where passengers can transfer to Thameslink services on to London.

The 200 drivers taking action are not contracted to work on Sundays.

None of them have offered to work overtime.

There are no replacement Midland Mainline (MML) buses north of Derby and Nottingham, but Central Trains rail services are running as normal on that route.

London to Sheffield passengers are advised to travel via Doncaster on other rail services. They will need to catch two trains but will not have to travel on a bus.

'Held to ransom'

MML has said passengers can use their tickets from other stations on rival GNER and Virgin services to London, although GNER is only accepting certain tickets.

The drivers' action follows a similar dispute in April which saw train services cancelled.

Aslef members have rejected a 4% pay offer and it is reported the drivers will be attending a Christmas party.

MML is reviewing the policy of not contracting drivers to work on Sundays.

MML sales and marketing director Jamie Burles said: "From our point of view, the most disappointing thing is the disruption it's going to cause the passengers.

There will be quicker services or more frequent trains on some routes
Anthony Smith, director of the Rail Passengers Council

"We are just incredibly disappointed it's going ahead.

"We have offered them 4% on the back of several inflation-busting pay rises over the years so for them to say it's derisory just beggars belief.

"They are effectively holding our customers to ransom."

Passengers with booked tickets for Sunday can request a full refund, or travel on Monday.

Meanwhile, train companies are promising an increase of 320 passenger trains a day as part of new timetables unveiled on Sunday.

It is hoped the changes will bring more frequent services to most lines at times of highest demand.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
How the disruption will affect passengers




SEE ALSO:
Train firm cancels Sunday service
09 Dec 04 |  Nottinghamshire
Train timetable changes unveiled
11 Sep 04 |  Nottinghamshire
New talks discuss train pay deal
27 Apr 04 |  England
Train drivers walk out over pay
25 Apr 04 |  England


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