Re­cov­ery scheme to get trains back on track

Midweek Visiter - - Front Page - BY JAMIE LOPEZ jamie.lopez@reach­plc.com @jamie_lopez1

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.”

WHAT do you think? Email us at: vis­iter news@south­portvis­iter.co.uk

North­ern Rail, which op­er­ates lo­cal ser­vices in­clud­ing the South­port to Manch­ester route, is fac­ing calls to re­solve its “in­ad­e­quate” per­for­mance

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