Rail North Partnership (RNP) asked the rail industry to assess and recommend options to improve the reliability of services for customers from the end of Northern’s interim timetable, which finishes on Sunday 29 July. RNP manages the Northern and TransPennine Express (TPE) franchises on behalf of Transport for the North and the Department for Transport.
RNP approved the industry’s recommendation which included the option of a phased reintroduction of all services. This phasing enables the industry to focus on further service improvement work across Greater Manchester.
Northern, which removed 6% of services (168 a day) from its timetable on 4 June, will reinstate 75% of these from 30 July, and introduce the remaining 25% in September.
David Brown, Managing Director, Northern said: “The May timetable caused significant disruption for customers on some routes on our network and we’re truly sorry for that. We introduced an interim timetable on a number of routes from 4 June, and that has enabled us to accelerate our driver training, stabilise service levels, improve performance and significantly reduce last-minute cancellations.
“Whilst we are ready to reintroduce all 168 daily services, given the need to drive further improvements across Manchester, we have agreed to a more gradual reintroduction of our services. A phased introduction is the right approach to ensure a more stable and reliable service for customers.”
Leo Goodwin, Managing Director, TransPennine Express said: “There has been disruption on parts of the rail network since the timetable change in May. As an industry we are really sorry for the impact that this has had on customers. Congestion on the network within the Manchester area has been a factor in the disruption and as all our services run through this corridor this caused a knock-on effect on our services across the North.
“We continue to work alongside the rest of the rail industry to put this right, to make sure that our performance improves and customers receive the service that they pay for.”
Martin Frobisher, route managing director of Network Rail’s London North Western route said: “The May timetable change resulted in poorer services for many customers and we are very sorry for this.
“We are working hard with our Great North Rail Project partners to improve the performance of trains across the North, so that customer get better services they rightly deserve.”
Anthony Smith, chief executive of independent transport user watchdog Transport Focus said: “Northern and TransPennine Express passengers have continued to face unacceptable delays and cancellations under the emergency timetable. They will welcome this plan to reinstate services, but will judge on whether train punctuality and reliability improves.
“In the meantime we urge passengers to claim compensation. We’re continuing to press for the introduction of a 15-minute delay trigger for compensation and recognition of the impact on non-season ticket holders.”
Northern service reintroductions
Following the partial reintroduction of services on Monday 2 July, a full service (35 trains a day) on the Lakes line will be reintroduced from Monday 30 July.
We are reintroducing all services from Blackpool to Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly (31 daily services in total) on Monday 30 July.
17 services a day (of the 30 removed) will be reintroduced on Monday 30 July between Blackpool South and Colne, via Preston. The remaining 13 services will be reinstated in September.
There will be ten daily services (out of the 16 removed) reintroduced on 30 July between Ormskirk and Preston, with the remaining six reinstated in September.
All 24 services on the Lancaster to Morecambe line will be reinstated on 30 July.
The four services between Preston and Blackburn will also be reinstated on 30 July.
The six Blackburn to Southport services will be reinstated in September.
We will reintroduce four services a day (of the 10 removed) on the Kirkby to Manchester Victoria line via Wigan on 30 July. The other six services will be reinstated during September.
The Manchester Victoria to Stalybridge services (12 removed) will all be reinstated in September.
Train times will be live in industry information systems from Saturday 21 July and downloadable timetables on the Northern website also available from Monday.
Additional service changes
Liverpool Lime Street reopening
Following the completion of major upgrade works by Network Rail, Liverpool Lime Street will reopen and Northern will recommence the vast majority of its services to and from Liverpool on Monday 30 July.
The following Liverpool services will be reintroduced on Monday 3 September:
Liverpool to Manchester Oxford Road (4 services)
Liverpool to Warrington Bank Quay (15 services)