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Deputy mayor demands answers over ‘chaotic’ Northern Rail cancellations

On Friday, the operator said it expected 80 of the scheduled 1,500 train services on Sunday not to run.

Cancellations to Northern Rail services for a third Sunday running have been described as “chaotic and unacceptable” in a letter to the rail operator from the deputy mayor of Greater Manchester.

Baroness Beverley Hughes has written to managing director of Northern David Brown after the company announced a third successive week of Sunday service cancellations.

On Friday, the operator said it expected 80 of the scheduled 1,500 train services on Sunday not to run.

It said ongoing engineering projects in Liverpool, Greater Manchester and Lancashire had caused “severe difficulties around the short-notice scheduling” of train crews.

In the letter, Baroness Hughes said: “As you are no doubt aware the Mayor has had to write to you, the Secretary of State for Transport and Transport for the North on a number of occasions over the past several months, and has also written to the Prime Minister, regarding what has been a chaotic and unacceptable situation.

It is disappointing that once again we are having to contact you directly regarding Northern’s services failing to meet an adequate standard Baroness Hughes

“It is disappointing that once again we are having to contact you directly regarding Northern’s services failing to meet an adequate standard.”

She asked for reassurances that services would run the following Sunday, questioned what urgent steps were being taken to address staff shortages and asked what compensation would be available for travellers affected by cancellations, which are expected to include some services between Liverpool and Manchester Airport.

Northern has said anyone whose journey is delayed by 30 minutes or more can apply for compensation.

A spokesman for the rail operator said: “We are sorry that our customers continue to experience some disruption to their weekend services.

“We are advising anyone thinking of travelling on Sunday on these routes to plan their journey carefully.”

Northern slashed nearly 170 services a day – 6% of the total – in early June after a new timetable introduced in May resulted in significant disruption for passengers.

The operator reintroduced three quarters of the cancelled services last month but commuters have continued to experience problems on the network.

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