William Wragg MP has today written to the Managing Director of Network Rail calling for urgent action to improve the situation for rail passengers after weeks of chaos and poor service following a national update to rail timetables.
In his letter today William urged Northern to implement an action plan to get more trains running as quickly as possible. He also called for the reinstatement of 4 car trains instead of 2 car trains wherever possible on the Buxton line to reduce overcrowding, and demanded that Northern pay for a compensation scheme for passengers, to ensure they are properly compensated for delays and cancellations of services, including season ticket and travel card holders.
William Wragg MP said: "Improving the performance of Northern Rail remains one of my key local priorities. Today I have written to the Managing Director to ensure that 4 carriage trains are run wherever necessary to address overcrowding problems. I have also asked for an update about compensation for passengers."
William also said Northern must co-operate fully with the Government’s inquiry into failures leading up to the implementation of the recent timetable so that those responsible can be held fully to account and to ensure that there are no repeats of current problems as we prepare for the next timetable change in December this year.
The problems have originated from a series of severe delays to engineering upgrades, including the electrification of the Bolton to Manchester line, being carried out by the rail infrastructure body Network Rail. This caused uncertainty for rail operators, including Northern Rail, about the availability of both lines and the trains which can run on them and hampered their ability to properly plan a new timetable. When Northern Rail announced its new timetable it came with significant gaps in services including the removal of several peak-time services which are relied on by commuters.
This resulted in a 45-minute gap in the middle of the morning commuter services for trains to Manchester from Middlewood, Hazel Grove, Woodsmoor and Davenport stations. In addition, some Sunday evening services out of Manchester have been cut or brought forward, meaning people wanting to spend an evening in Manchester have to cut it short.
Since the new timetable was announced William Wragg has raised in Parliament the problems of the new timetable and the unacceptable impact it is having on passengers on three separate occasions. He has also held multiple meetings with the Transport Secretary, the Rail Minister, and a joint meeting with representatives of both Network Rail and Northern Rail to urge them to work together in improving the service for passengers.
You can read the text of the letter for full details of the urgent improvements William is asking for on behalf of rail passengers in the pdf below.