More than 2,000 trains can­celled in just six months

Ormskirk Advertiser - - Front Page - BY JAMIE LOPEZ [email protected]­plc.com @jamie_lopez1­trains

MORE than 2,000 were can­celled be­tween Orm­skirk and Pre­ston in just six months, ac­cord­ing to fig­ures re­leased last week.

The shock­ing data, sourced by the BBC, ranked the ser­vice among the worst in the coun­try and was re­vealed hours af­ter more strikes were an­nounced for North­ern Rail.

Of the 5,712 trains timetabled to run dur­ing the six-and-a-half-month pe­riod, only 3,701 – around two in three – op­er­ated.

That does not in­clude trains which ran late and now the Mayor of Greater Manch­ester, Andy Burn­ham, is lead­ing calls for North­ern to be stripped of its con­tract.

Many of the prob­lems re­late to the sham­bolic introduction of new timeta­bles ear­lier this year. That led to so many de­lays and can­cel­la­tions that an emer­gency timetable had to be im­ple­mented, dra­mat­i­cally re­duc­ing the num­ber of ser­vices be­ing run.

Mr Burn­ham said: “I think they should be given clear no­tice.

“Things have to im­prove, es­pe­cially at the very lat­est by the timetable change next May. And if not, they should be stripped of the fran­chise.”

North­ern’s man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, David Brown, re­sponded by say­ing that the firm was “ab­so­lutely fit” to run its ser­vices.

He told BBC News: “My­self and team are com­mit­ted to get­ting that right.

“We’re start­ing to see sta­bil­i­sa­tion of the timetable and were start­ing to see the in­vest­ments were mak­ing in new trains.

“What we’ve had to do is take out a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of the trains dur­ing the au­tumn for re­pair be­cause of dam­age caused dur­ing au­tumn pe­riod, and we had to take the dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion to sus­pend some lines and that in­cluded the Orm­skirk to Pre­ston line.”

North­ern Rail boss David Brown

Greater Manch­ester Mayor Andy Burn­ham

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