Virgin Trains has confirmed it will run a full East Coast main line timetable for South Yorkshire commuters during April 28 and 29 planned RMT staff walk-out.
The company's newly announced contingency plans are designed to counter National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers' industrial action.
Virgin Trains has made changes to customer-facing roles on board which see a single person on each train take overall responsibility for the customer experience on our trains, supported by a team of hosts.
"This will mean a better experience for customers. It also has zero impact on safety. We have repeatedly assured the RMT that the safety critical role of the guard will remain on board, with the new Train Manager role taking responsibility," say the operator..
David Horne, Managing Director for Virgin Trains on the East Coast said, “I’m pleased to announce that we will be able to run a full timetable during the RMT strike, and would like to reassure customers that they can plan and book their journeys as normal and with confidence.
"The Bank Holiday weekend sees a number of exciting events on our route including the Tour de Yorkshire, so we wanted to do everything we possibly could to ensure we offer a full timetable, and continue to support communities and local economies along our network.
“The changes we have made are part of the customer-centric revolution that’s underway. We’ve already completely refreshed our entire fleet of trains with all new interiors, and next year we will have our ground-breaking Azuma trains coming into service. Alongside more modern trains, we want a modern customer service proposition – one that focuses firmly on the customer".
He added: “The on-board changes came into force on March 31st 2017 and have already seen us achieve our second highest customer satisfaction score since taking over the franchise, so we are confident the changes are benefitting customers.
“With our guarantees that there will be no compulsory redundancies, no impact on safety and a full timetable in place during the walk-outs, this pointless strike will cost RMT members pay for no reason.”