Spirits remained high in spite of the cold weather on Saturday as rail staff in Barrow held their fortieth day of industrial action as part of a campaign to ‘Keep the Guard on the Train’.

The day was marked with a well-attended and vibrant picket line at Barrow railway station despite Storm Deirdre bringing torrential rain and wind.

Rail, Maritime and Transport union members are continuing their strike action in their fight to ‘protect passenger safety’ by ensuring that there is a fully trained guard on every train.

Northern has refused to guarantee a guard on every train in future and instead wants to introduce driver-only operation (DOO).

The RMT has long argued that guards are “safety-critical”.

RMT members were joined by delegates from Barrow Trades Union Council, other trade unionists and Barrow councillors Brendan Sweeney and Lee Roberts.

Barrow Trades Union Council chair George Appleton said: “It is a testament to the RMT members’ commitment to passenger safety that they continue to hold such well-supported picket lines.

“It was also heartening to see people making solidarity visits to the picket line to show their support.”

Mandy Penellum, secretary of Barrow Trades Union Council, said: “In recent months more than 1,000 people have signed Barrow Trades Union Council’s petition in support of the RMT members and their campaign to keep the guard on the train.

“When we hold street stalls people are literally queueing up to sign the petition, which demonstrates the level of public support for this campaign.

“We are proud to stand in solidarity with the RMT, and will continue to do so until the fight for our safety as passengers is won.”

Further strikes are planned for this Saturday and December 29.

Northern has called for RMT to suspend its strike action and return to talks. The company said the RMT has made agreements with other train operators but it refuses to talk with Northern.