CRITICISM of problems with performance on Northern is continuing after the introduction of new timetables on Sunday, when 38 early morning services were reported cancelled.
There are more cancellations and delays today, some of which are being caused by a derailment in Ardwick depot, which has trapped a number of trains. Northern has also blamed a shortage of drivers on some routes. TransPennine Express has reported major disruption because of the Ardwick derailment.
The Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: ‘If the government is serious about supporting the North, then it needs to show it by acting this week to sort out our failing rail services. As a first step, it should strip Northern of its franchise. That would send a clear signal to all rail operators – notably TransPennine Express – that we will not accept a second-class rail service for people in the North.’
Labour’s shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald added: ‘Once again Northern Rail has botched a timetable introduction causing chaos for passengers. Tory Transport Ministers have a responsibility to hold operator Arriva to the terms of its contract but have instead stood by for years as the company failed to recruit and retain enough staff and cut services.’
Northern has disputed claims that the new timetable was to blame.
A spokesman for the operator said: ‘The small number of delays and cancellations are due to operational issues including driver sickness, signalling failure and train faults. As of this morning, we now have over half of our brand new trains in service.’
Northern managing director Leo Goodwin added: ‘Due to a number of issues with crew training caused by the late delivery of some of our new trains, along with a maintenance backlog, we have had to implement a temporary timetable, cancelling some journeys along one of our routes. This has unfortunately made a number of other services a lot busier. We are working really hard to sort this for our customers and as we introduce more new trains we should see an improvement.’