NORTHUMBERLAND County Council is opposing controversial plans by Northern to introduce driver-only trains in the region – a proposal which has led to two years of strikes.

A motion to call for a second member of staff on trains, was made by Labour leader Grant Davey, backed by Liberal Democrat leader Coun. Jeff Reid, at last Wednesday’s full council meeting.

Coun. Davey’s call, which will see the council’s chief executive write to Northern to oppose the proposal to remove on-board conductors, was approved by 31 votes to 26 with two abstentions.

Coun. Davey said: “There’s quite a lot of unmanned stations in Northumberland. If I was a wheelchair user or an older person and if we had a driver on the train and they missed me, I could have a very serious accident. We have a lot of people to look after in this county and this is one of the ways we can.

Conservative councillors opposed the motion, claiming that driver-only carriages were not going to be introduced.

Coun. Richard Wearmouth argued that Northern had committed to having a second person on trains already, following two years of strike action by the RMT.

He added: “If you’re talking to people, you would find the number one thing they are irritated about at the moment is the strikes by the RMT and that needs to stop.”