Shortage of train drivers sparks huge rail delays
DOZENS of train services were cancelled and delayed yesterday as passengers were hit with chaos during the big Christmas getaway.
Tens of thousands of people were heading to be with family on the last Sunday before the festive period.
However, there was anger as a large number of train services in and out of Manchester were cancelled allegedly at short notice and without warning.
Many of the services that were running were also overcrowded as a result passengers have claimed.
Transpennine Express say it is due to a shortage of available drivers and staff with staff currently being trained on a new fleet of trains.
The company run services from the central Manchester stations to the airport as well to cities including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, Sheffield, Hull, Leeds, York, Scarborough, Middlesbrough and Newcastle.
FirstGroup, who run the franchise, ordered 19 five-carriage Nova trains from Hitachi in 2016, and they began to be introduced onto the network last month.
However the operator says the rollout has been “hindered with issues” and that training of staff has left them short staffed.
The firm also recently implemented a new timetable and as a result have had to temporarily withdraw some services between Liverpool and Newcastle, some of which run through Manchester Victoria, from the timetable.
Passengers were less than impressed and took to social media to vent their frustration. Adam Russell said on Twitter: “Train cancelled between Manchester and Newcastle. No email, no announcement, only found out by chance as I enquired what platform my train was leaving from.”
Transpennine’s social media said they hoped services would improve today.
The M.E.N. has contacted the firm for comment.
AS the latest series of The Apprentice came to an end, one of its contestants has celebrated in an unusual way.
Lewis Ellis has got a tattoo of Lord Alan Sugar – despite the pair having a Twitter spat last month when the businessman called Lewis’ chest tattoos ‘horrific’ as he live-tweeted along with an episode of the BBC show.
The Rochdale-born digital marketer has now gone a step further and got an inking of the 72-year-old – holding a gun.
Explaining the reason behind his new body artwork, which he got in Bolton, Lewis said: “I thought adding Lord Sugar would be a great reminder of my time on the show. I’ve always said my tattoos tell my story and now this part of my life is there forever.
The 29-year-old didn’t quite make it to last week’s final but he hasn’t given up on his dreams. He told the M.E.N. that he has ‘got zero in the bank’ but says he will ‘change that by making my business plan into a reality’.
Lewis Ellis and, right, his tattoo of Lord Sugar