Northern introduces 'interim timetable' on rail services following 'unacceptable' number of cancellations and delays

Northern introduced its new timetable on May 20.
Northern introduced its new timetable on May 20.
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Under-fire bosses at Northern have cancelled 165 daily train services until the end of July following major disruption since new timetables were introduced last month.

The 'interim timetable', to be introduced on Monday, removes 6 per cent of the train operator's total services.

Chris Grayling.

Chris Grayling.

Areas affected include Manchester, Liverpool, Blackpool and the Lakes Line between Oxenholme and Windermere.

Northern has aborted 2,200 services in the last fortnight, with more than 200 cancelled or heavily delayed on Friday.

The company - which has faced calls for it to be stripped of its franchise - insisted it will still run more trains than it did before last month's timetable changes, and expects to 'get back to a full timetable service' by the end of next month.

It follows a warning by the mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, that an 'emergency' timetable was being considered to deal with the scale of train cancellations and delays.

Northern managing director David Brown said: "We have been experiencing some significant disruption to train services, especially around north Manchester, Bolton, Liverpool, Blackpool and up to the Lake District."

He apologised for the 'unacceptable situation' and 'unacceptable service many customers have been subject to'.

Mr Brown added: "We are absolutely committed to resolving the service issues and the interim plan will help ensure we start to get back on track and start to give customers more certainty around the services we operate."

The Transport Secretary Chris Grayling cited government-owned Network Rail - which manages the rail infrastructure - for the problems.

He said it was 'too late in finalising planned timetable changes' which have caused widespread problems since they were introduced.

The RMT's general secretary Mick Cash said the minister should 'get out' and described the situation as 'carnage'.

Mr Cash said his members were facing public anger 'without a shred of support'.

He said: "Not only is Chris Grayling incompetent and not fit to run a railway but he is a coward as well, leaving RMT members to take the flack for failed policies that are his responsibility."