Northern introduces temporary train timetable

Sheffield railway station
Sheffield railway station

Train provider Northern has introduced a temporary timetable, leading to 165 services being cancelled daily.

From today, six per cent of the company's services - 165 out of the normal 2,800 - will be temporarily removed, until the end of July.

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The interim timetable is designed to allow Northern to stabilise its services over the next few weeks and to reduce the number of last-minute train cancellations.

It follows a timetable change in May, which led to delays and disruption for some passengers.

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

"I’d like to apologise for this unacceptable situation and for the disruption and inconvenience many passengers have faced. We’re truly sorry for this and are working hard to fix this."

He added: "Again I would like to apologise on behalf of Northern for the unacceptable service many customers have been subject to.

"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."

Northern’s new timetable, introduced in May, was designed to provide extra services.

The company claims that because of an announcement in January that there would be a delay in the delivery of the electrification of the Manchester-Preston via Bolton line, the company had to rewrite its timetable and then plan and deliver 'significant levels of complex driver training on new routes and to operate different trains'.

A spokesman said: "This has caused us to have a reduction in availability of drivers to run our scheduled train services whilst they complete their training, and this has resulted in the significant number of last minute cancellations.

"One area I wanted to clarify is the position on train drivers, and to explain that we actually have more drivers than we need to run a full timetable in normal circumstances. We currently have 1,529 train drivers, 180 more than when we started the franchise.

"We are having to complete a significant amount of driver training as a result of the delayed Blackpool electrification programme, and a large number of additional last-minute route changes as a result of the May timetable. The interim timetable will enable us to accelerate the completion of this training."