Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith has called on Northern Rail and Transport Secretary Chris Grayling to urgently tackle issues arising from Northern Rail’s timetable change last month.
Since May 20th, when Northern Rail’s new timetable came into effect, over 2,000 trains have been cancelled across the network. Northern Rail announced an emergency timetable last week which has seen 165 daily services cut from the network in order to ease pressure on the service. However, by 8:30am today, 60 trains had already been cancelled.
Last week Jeff wrote to David Brown, Managing Director of Northern Rail, to raise the particular problems on services connecting stations in south Manchester (Burnage, Mauldeth Road and East Didsbury) with Manchester city centre, Liverpool Lime Street, Wilmslow and Manchester Airport.
Jeff is also supporting Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham’s demand – in a letter to John Cridland, Chief Executive of Transport for the North – for Northern Rail to be stripped of the franchise unless the timetable promised can be delivered, and for passengers to be compensated for the inconvenience caused by the changes.
Commenting on the crisis, Jeff said:
“My constituents in south Manchester are being hit every day by train cancellations, late services and overcrowded carriages.
This situation cannot go on any longer. It’s time for the government and the train companies to stop passing the buck and sort out the problems.
I have written to Northern Rail Managing Director David Brown demanding an explanation of why passengers in south Manchester have been so badly affected.
I am also meeting with the Transport Secretary to raise my concerns directly with him and urge him to act quickly to resolve this mess.”