Com­muters tell tales of rail woe after min­is­ter says he’s ‘sorry’

Rochdale Observer - - FRONT PAGE - Da­mon.wilkin­ @Da­monWilkin­son6

PAS­SEN­GERS have been shar­ing sto­ries of their night­mare com­mutes after Trans­port Sec­re­tary Chris Grayling apol­o­gised for this sum­mer’s rail­way chaos.

Mr Grayling ap­peared on BBC One’s In­side Out dur­ing a spe­cial pro­gramme look­ing at trans­port in the north of Eng­land.

The min­is­ter said sorry for the prob­lems caused by months of timetable changes, can­cel­la­tions and over­crowd­ing on North­ern and Tran­sPen­nine ser­vices. Mr Grayling told pre­sen­ters: “I’m re­ally sorry for the dis­rup­tion we’ve had - it’s been a huge frus­tra­tion to me be­cause this was the in­tro­duc­tion of a ma­jor new in­vest­ment that didn’t work out at the start. I feel deeply sorry for the pas­sen­gers affected.

“I’m sorry pas­sen­gers were affected but I’m not sorry that we are putting money in to sort out both the prob­lems this sum­mer but more par­tic­u­larly the long term prob­lems of the rail­ways in the north.”

Fol­low­ing the apol­ogy, scores of an­gry rail pas­sen­gers vented their frus­tra­tions on Twit­ter.

An­drea Water­house wrote: “Chris Grayling is so very out of touch if he be­lieves that the sit­u­a­tion has sta­bilised, it is still chaos and we are strug­gling to get an­swers.”

Vic­to­ria Stone posted: “I travel Black­rod to Manch­ester and we’ve had no trains since July 2017 on a week­end. My daily com­mute is sim­ply a night­mare.”

@madzip tweeted: “With the trains be­ing a ●●Trans­port Sec­re­tary Chris Grayling on BBC One’s In­side Out pro­gramme on Mon­day, where he apol­o­gised for the se­vere dis­rup­tion on the re­gion’s rail­ways dis­as­ter get­ting into Manch­ester and the new road works it is al­most im­pos­si­ble to get in or out of Manch­ester, I am in tears again to­day and on the verge of quit­ting my job be­cause I just can’t get into work.”

Sarah Goldthorpe posted: “It’s a na­tional scan­dal that the north has for decades lost out to the south in term of elec­tri­fi­ca­tion and in­vest­ment.”

Laura S said: “North­ern rail is a night­mare. Never enough car­riages, people packed on like cat­tle at peak time. Re­place­ment bus that leaves Manch­ester at 11.30pm back to Bolton and that’s the last one that’s why people don’t have nights out in Mcr.”

The show, which was broad­cast live from the Na­tional Rail­way Mu­seum in York, also saw Greater Manch­ester Mayor Andy Burn­ham and North­ern Pow­er­house min­is­ter Jake Berry clash over the prob­lems.

Mr Burn­ham said: “We have an­other ter­ri­ble day on the trains with people un­able to get into work.

“We’ve had four months of chaos now and it just goes on and on. We need a so­lu­tion from Mr Grayling.

“He needs to work with Trans­port for the North to find a so­lu­tion.

“I would say that is to bring in a trou­ble shooter who can bang heads to­gether and get ser­vices back on track.

“We can­not carry on in this po­si­tion.”

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