Recovery scheme to get trains back on track
TRANSPORT for the North (TfN) has stepped in to resolve the “inadequate” performance of Northern Rail, amid a huge number of delayed and cancelled services.
In the week after the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, called for a government review of the train company, rail users have been left further angered by problems on the network.
Northern is responsible for a wide number of services in the North West, including the line linking Southport to Wigan and Manchester.
A new timetable was introduced on Monday, May 21, which had already caused upset by reducing the number of services between Southport and Manchester Piccadilly. But the updated service was badly hit by driver shortages, causing a raft of cancellations through the first week.
Problems were heightened by strike action on Thursday and Saturday as part of the ongoing dispute over plans for driver-only trains.
Now, TfN and the Department for Transport, acting through The Rail North Partnership, have agreed a plan with Northern in response to the current performance issues.
Concern over continued travel disruption for rail passengers using Northern’s services has resulted in the operator introducing a plan to restore services to acceptable levels of reliability at the earliest opportunity.
Northern’s Action Plan includes:
Improving driver rostering to get more trains running.
Increasing driver training on new routes to get more services on line as quickly as possible.
Additional contingency drivers and management presence at key locations in Manchester.
The chief executive of TfN, Barry White, said: “We are extremely disappointed and concerned with the inadequate performance of Northern. We have received a timetable recovery plan from Northern to address these concerns and improve the rail experience for passengers.
“Both Transport for the North and the Department for Transport, through the Rail North Partnership, will be monitoring progress against the plan on a daily basis.”
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Northern Rail, which operates local services including the Southport to Manchester route, is facing calls to resolve its “inadequate” performance