A Happy New Year for rail passengers in the north?
It’s been another rough year for many Northern and TransPennine Express passengers.
Rumours abound about the future of the Northern franchise, but it’s TransPennine Express passengers that have been experiencing a truly abysmal service in recent weeks. Since the timetable change performance has gone from bad to even worse.
In December for many passengers it has been impossible to reliably plan their journeys as they have simply been unable to rely on the advertised timetable.
Both operators are reporting high levels of cancellations due to lack of train crew, but even though TransPennine Express has withdrawn some Liverpool to Edinburgh services, passengers are still being hit by numerous short-notice cancellations.
Whether it’s a well-intentioned drive to replace as many Pacer trains as possible before the year is out, or an eagerness to introduce long-promised new trains, the result for passengers has been to undermine the stability of their service once more.
Why is it that the railway seems unable to manage change and grow and improve sustainably, without today’s passengers suffering?
We have written to TransPennine Express to seek urgent assurances on behalf of passengers about when the timetable will be stabilised and deliverable, and plans to compensate passengers in recognition of the impact of weeks of disruption to their lives.
With the long-awaited Williams Review on the horizon passengers must hope that 2020 brings much-needed improvement.
First passengers will have to swallow the 2.7 per cent annual fare rise, being asked to pay more for a service that has once again proven to be unreliable.
A not-so-happy New Year…