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Northern Introduce Temporary Timetables

Northern 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.

David added: “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. Download the timetable here:

Oxenholme—Windermere-04—09-June[1]

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. Download the timetables here:

Blackpool-South—Colne-04—08-June[1]
Manchester-Airport—Blackpool-North-04—08-June[1]

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. Download the timetables here:

Preston—Ormskirk–04—08-June[1]
Manchester-Victoria—Blackburn-via-Todmorden-04—08-June[1]
Lancaster—Morecambe-and-Heysham-Port-04—08-June[1]

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. Download the timetables here:

Manchester-Victoria—Kirkby-04—08-June[1]
Huddersfield—Manchester-04—08-June[1]

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.

What caused the problem?

Northern’s new timetable was designed to provide extra services, making use of our growing train fleet and infrastructure upgrades including the Ordsall Chord, at Liverpool Lime St and between Manchester and Blackpool. However, the timetable had to be planned and delivered in four months compared to the normal 9-12 months.

This was because in January 2018 it was announced that there would be a further delay in delivery of the electrification of the Manchester-Preston via Bolton line, bringing the delay to two years. As a result of this announcement we had to totally rewrite our timetable plan and then plan and deliver significant levels of complex driver training on new routes and to operate different trains. This has caused us to have a reduction in availability of drivers to run our scheduled train services whilst they complete their training, and this has resulted in the significant number of last minute cancellations.

One area we want to clarify is the position on train drivers, and to explain that we actually have more drivers than we need to run a full timetable in normal circumstances. We currently have 1,529 train drivers, 180 more than when we started the franchise.

We are having to complete a significant amount of driver training as a result of the delayed Blackpool electrification programme, and a large number of additional last-minute route changes as a result of the May timetable. The interim timetable will enable us to accelerate the completion of this training.