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Lakes Line to close for at least two weeks

David Brown

[N]orthern has announced a temporary change to its timetable to help reduce last minute cancellations.

From Monday 4 June, 6% of daily train services, that’s 165 out of our normal 2,800 daily services, will be temporarily removed, until the end of July.

This interim timetable will enable Northern to start to stabilise service levels over the next few weeks and, importantly, start to reduce the number of last-minute train cancellations.

In the short-term we will be running fewer services, but still more than we did before the May timetable change. We will then get back to a full timetable service by the end of July.

David Brown, Managing Director, Northern said: “We have been experiencing some significant disruption to train services, especially around north Manchester, Bolton, Liverpool, Blackpool and up to the Lake District. I’d like to apologise for this unacceptable situation and for the disruption and inconvenience many passengers have faced. We’re truly sorry for this and are working hard to fix this.

“Again I would like to apologise on behalf of Northern for the unacceptable service many customers have been subject to. We are absolutely committed to resolving the service issues, and the interim plan will help ensure we start to get back on track and start to give customers more certainty around the services we operate.

What areas are affected?

Lakes Line

For an initial period of two weeks, we are removing all services on the Lakes Line to and from Preston, Lancaster and Oxenholme and will, instead, operate a replacement bus service to keep people who live, work and visit the Lake District on the move.

Blackpool

In and around Blackpool we are reducing services between Blackpool South and Preston, Preston and Colne and will remove a small number of off-peak services between Blackpool North and Manchester Airport. Other services between Blackpool North and Manchester Piccadilly will start/terminate at Manchester Oxford Road.

Lancashire

There will be reductions between Ormskirk and Preston and a small number between Blackburn and Southport via Manchester Victoria, whilst many services on the Lancaster to Morecambe line will be removed.

Manchester

We have reduced services on the Kirkby to Manchester Victoria line via Wigan, and the number of trains operating each day between Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge.

Liverpool City Region

“Additionally, as already extensively communicated, there is a closure of Liverpool Lime Street for two months whilst significant work takes place on resignalling and remodelling of the infrastructure. We have reduced services during this interim period as a result of this closure. This will see three trains per hour run between Liverpool and Wigan/Manchester Victoria.

“On a number of these routes there will be alternative rail services available, as well as other modes of transport. Where available, rail replacement buses will also operate on affected routes with details provided locally for customers.

“As a result of these amendments we will be operating 165 fewer services each day – equivalent to 6% of our daily total.”

Commenting on the news this afternoon that Northern are suspending train services on the Lakes Line for at least the next two weeks, South Lakes MP Tim Farron said: “This is disgraceful – Northern have simply given up.  If they can’t run the service, then it should be turned over to someone who can.

“I’ve secured an urgent meeting with the rail minister Jo Johnson for Monday. It’s simply not on for there to be no trains for two weeks – if not longer.

“The hundreds of people who rely on the line to get to school and work and the thousands of tourists who use it to get to a World Heritage Site deserve better.”

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