Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Northern Set for More Sunday Cancellations

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Northern Set for More Sunday Cancellations

Article excerpt

SUNDAY cancellations on Northern services are likely to last 'at least to the end of the month' - and mayor Andy Burnham is now demanding the transport secretary freezes rail fares.

The unwelcome news that Sunday disruption is set to continue comes as passengers recover from three consecutive Sundays of cancellations. Around 80 services were affected last weekend, with more than 50 services travelling in and out of Greater Manchester running on an amended timetable.

Among those hit were travellers heading to Manchester Airport for their summer holiday. Bosses said some train crews 'made themselves unavailable to work.' .

Now the M.E.N. understands that these problems are likely to continue at least 'until the end of August.' .' The problem is understood to revolve around a policy that staff don't have to work Sundays, exacerbated by last-minute rosters as a result of delays to engineering work.

It follows months of services blighted by cancellations and delays, blamed by Northern on Network Rail delays which led to travel disaster when a new timetable was introduced in May. The problems also disrupted TransPennine services.

Now the mayors of Greater Manchester and Liverpool have written to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling demanding a freeze on Northern and TransPennine rail fares - which are due to go up in 2019.

Traditionally future rail fare increases are set using the July rate of RPI, which is published in August and comes into effect the subsequent January. It's estimated this could add an average of £45 for an annual season ticket on commuter lines from Altrincham, Stockport, Glossop, East Didsbury, Rochdale and Ashton-under-Lyne.

In their letter to Mr Grayling, mayors Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram say: "Over the past few months travelling by What you Write to: M.E.N, House, Oldham, Or email: @men-train in the North has become a lottery, where passengers turn up at stations with no idea if there will be a train or whether they will arrive at their destination on time. …

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