Plenty of LNER staff were on hand to help the small number of travellers at a largely deserted Newcastle Central station.

One of those passengers was plant pathology Masters student Munjabordrain Dopl, who said he had had to “abandon his research” to get an earlier train to Manchester Airport, before flying to Cameroon to attend his father’s memorial ceremony.

“It’s really affecting me,” he told the PA news agency.

“In a laboratory you have to respect the schedule, and I was supposed to be in the lab now and getting the train at 1pm.

“Because of this I’ve had to abandon my research and get an early train.”

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North of Tyne Labour Mayor Jamie Driscoll joined the picket of around 25 people outside Newcastle Central station.

He told the PA news agency: “What I want to see is Britain be a high-wage economy with good public services, which is exactly what the RMT is fighting for.

“When it gets to the point where people are giving up their pay to fight for industry, something’s already gone wrong.

“I sit on the Rail North committee and on Transport for the North and we have been warning ministers for two years that the system is creaking – they should have acted.

“If you want Britain to be a modern, high-wage economy with world-leading services, you’ve got to fund it.

“The fact that the Government hasn’t come to the table despite the fact this has been brewing for years is the problem.”