Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Time for North to Take Control of Trains

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Time for North to Take Control of Trains

Article excerpt

Byline: JONATHAN WALKER Political Editor @jonwalker121

EX-CHANCELLOR George Osborne said the Department for Transport should be stripped of responsibility for rail services in the North following "ongoing chaos" on the network. He spoke out after Transport Secretary Chris Grayling faced repeated calls to resign during a Commons savaging over rail cancellations and delays.

Northern Rail services have been cancelled and delayed because of a lack of drivers, following the introduction of a new timetable. And Mr Osborne said they should be overseen by Transport for the North, the new transport authority led by council leaders and directlyelected mayors.

He said on Twitter: "Ongoing chaos on northern railways makes case for devolving full power and responsibility to the new Transport for the North overwhelming.

"It was always what we intended.

Whitehall will resist but decisions about the north should be taken in the north."

It would mean train operators were accountable to the Transport for the North board, which includes Newcastle City Council leader Nick Forbes.

Misery for commuters continued on Tuesday, June 5, with Northern Rail listing 22 train cancellations.

In keeping with previous days, most cancelled services were in the North West. Some services to Leeds were also affected.

But they included the 9.59am from Hexham to Nunthorpe, calling at Gateshead, Newcastle and Sunderland, which was cancelled due to a train breaking down.

There were changes to a further 42 services, including delayed trains and services that failed to stop at all the usual stations.

Easington MP Grahame Morris has asked Mr Grayling for assurances that the problems won't be repeated when further timetable changes are introduced in December.

Speaking in the House of Commons, he said: "Most of the trains serving mine only have two carriages to begin with, so they are already overcrowded even before any cancellations. …

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