Thousands of train staff working the main line through Newcastle are to vote on taking strike action.
Employees from Virgin East Coast trains will hold a strike ballot over pay and working conditions
The company imposed a pay offer that had been previously rejected by staff.
A spokesperson for the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union said: “The news of the ballot comes just a week after it emerged that Virgin East Coast are being lined up for a massive taxpayer bail-out running to hundreds of millions of pounds on a franchise that has been riddled with problems since the public sector operation was scrapped and Virgin/Stagecoach were handed the keys.”
The ballot will close on 20 December and will include around 2000 members’ votes.
If the ballot results in strike action, then this could cause major disruption early next year.
Alex McConville, a regular passenger on the East Coast line, said: “The strike would cause major problems for me getting up North, my train journey is already long enough without delays and cancellations.”
Virgin East Coast trains run services between London, the North East and Scotland.
RMT and Virgin are both open to talks.
The walkouts will be held for 24 hours on six dates, between December 15 and January 29.