Last week, residents were in touch with me regarding the inadequate local train service provided by Northern Rail. It was the same problems people have told me about again and again, delayed, overcrowded and even cancelled services, leaving local people stranded and unable to get to work, school or college.
I got in touch with Northern Rail on my constituents’ behalf to ask what caused the problems in the service last week. They cited numerous issues including adverse weather and trespass incidents in Trafford Park. They also blamed the new train rollout which has meant a large number of their train crews are undergoing training, which takes each driver out of timetabling for at least 9 days, leading to driver shortages when short notice absence occurs, such as a driver being unwell. They say that the situation around driver training will be concluding by the end of the year.
It simply isn’t good enough that local people keep being let down by Northern. Recently, the Transport Secretary has called for the company to be stripped of the franchise and to be renationalised. Here in Manchester, Andy Burnham has repeatedly told Ministers that we can’t be stuck with such an inadequate service, and it’s a relief that they’re finally starting to listen.
I’ll be meeting with Northern next month to hold them to account about the service and to discuss the results of the survey I conducted on the frequency of our local trains too.