Northern Rail under fire for cancellations

Northern had said there wereplanned cancellations on a number of routes in the North-West over the Christmas period
Northern had said there wereplanned cancellations on a number of routes in the North-West over the Christmas period

Rail operator Northern has been rapped after Christmas delays and cancellations owing to planned leave and 'unprecedented levels of sickness'.

Northern had said on Christmas Eve there were planned cancellations on a number of routes in the North-West.

The move brought a rebuke from Transport for the North, which is continuing its calls for rail operator Northern to improve its service to passengers.

David Hoggarth, Strategic Rail Director at Transport for the North, said: “We are deeply concerned that, on top of ongoing poor performance and heavy disruption during the first week of the new timetable, Northern is having to cancel hundreds of services in the North-West.

“It is totally unacceptable that passengers once again do not have a full service they can rely on, especially at this busy time of year.

“We have made our concerns clear to Northern and reiterated that passengers deserve better."

A Northern spokesman said: “Alongside the annual leave entitlements at this time of the year, we currently have unprecedented levels of sickness.

“That means we expect there to be some pre-planned cancellations on certain lines.

“We are sorry for any disruption customers may face. Please check before you travel.

“We do not cancel services lightly and routes with cancelled services are chosen carefully to minimise the impact on customers.”

The North’s leaders, as part of Transport for the North’s Rail North Committee, are to meet in Leeds on January 8th to discuss the issues and way forward, and have called for senior leaders from rail operators to attend.

There have been calls for Northern to be stripped of its franchise and an Operator of Last Resort to be installed by the Government