CUTS are being considered to a twice-hourly rail service to the MetroCentre, operated by the Northern Rail Franchise.

Transport operator Nexus, which runs the Tyne and Wear Metro, has approached the franchise with a view to providing five trains an hour between Sunderland, Newcastle and Europe's biggest shopping centre.

A Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) spokesman said the only way the scheme would be possible was if the Northern Rail Franchise cut its service to one train an hour.

The SRA said the cuts were not related to a review of the Northern Rail Franchise, due to begin by the summer.

The RMT, Britain's biggest rail union, is worried the review will hit services.

RMT members marched through York yesterday as part of their anti-privatisation protest.