Kate met with Northern Rail on Friday 15th December and has the following update for residents:
Today, I had a meeting with a representative from Northern Rail, where we discussed the delays and overcrowding which many residents tell me they’ve experienced on the Liverpool Lime Street to Manchester Oxford Road service over the past several months.
I know that many people got in touch with me about problems with the service during the first few weeks in October, which Northern said stemmed from the engineering works taking place at Liverpool Lime Street during that time. Northern tell me that they are now conducting a ‘lessons learned’ exercise from the delays during the Lime Street engineering works to make sure that the problems experienced by passengers during this time don’t happen again.
Northern told me that the problems which people are experiencing with the service at the moment (such as too few carriages on peak services leading to overcrowding) are down to seasonal pressures, such as ‘leaves on the line’. Northern say that autumn often brings problems for older trains, which means that more have to go for repairs which, in turn, means there’s more likely to be fewer carriages on peak services. According to Northern, autumn is the peak time for pressures on the service and they hope that things will be less problematic now autumn is over.
In the longer term, Northern said that they will be getting new trains over the next several years, with the new rolling stock expected to be rolled out by 2020. We don’t know yet which areas will get the new trains first, but I will be pressing for us to be given priority.
I told Northern that many residents had raised concerns about their inadequate ‘delay repay’ system and they said that they are working with the Department Transport to adapt the compensation system to more adequately reflect passengers’ experiences. I’ll make sure I ask transport Ministers questions about this in the New Year.
I know that this update won’t answer everyone’s questions and we’ve still got a long way to go to in addressing people’s concerns. Rest assured, I will be keeping up the pressure on Northern to make sure that they deliver for local residents who use their service.