More than 2,000 trains cancelled in just six months
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.”