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Passengers deserve better than Christmas cancellations

Transport for the North is continuing its calls for rail operator Northern to improve its service to passengers, as hundreds of trains are cancelled over Christmas week.

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 on Christmas Eve and Friday 27 December.

“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. We will continue to monitor performance over the Christmas break and expect to see comprehensive preparations in place to enable a return to a more reliable and robust service as people go back to work in January.”

The North’s leaders, as part of Transport for the North’s Rail North Committee, are to meet in Leeds on 8 January 2020 to discuss the issues and way forward, and have called for senior leaders from both operators to attend. They have previously recommended to the Secretary of State that an Operator of Last Resort for the Northern franchise would help restore public confidence.

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 have some pre-planned cancellations on certain lines.  We are sorry for any disruption customers may face. Please check our website before you travel.”

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