Thursday, August 16, 2018
guard outside train Image copyright PA
Image caption Northern said about 5% of its Sunday services were affected

Northern has cancelled about 80 rail services on Sunday for a second time, in a move that has been branded “outrageous”.

Services across north-west England have been affected as engineering projects caused crew scheduling “difficulties”.

The RMT union said the firm was passing the “blame” while Greater Manchester’s deputy mayor Beverley Hughes described it as a “weekly shambles”.

Northern apologised and added about 5% of its Sunday services were affected.

The cancellations, which affect Liverpool, Lancashire and Greater Manchester, follows similar disruption on 5 August and across the country on the day of the World Cup final.

Image copyright Getty Images

Image caption More than 165 daily train services were cancelled following a chaotic timetable introduction

Darren Ireland, the union’s regional organiser, said it was “ludicrous” to blame engineering works for the latest cancellations.

“If anything, that would mean they need fewer crews because of the [resulting] cancellations.

“They are blaming everyone apart from the mismanagement of the company.”

The union repeated its calls for the operator to be “stripped of the franchise and the Northern routes should be nationalised immediately”.

One passenger tweeted she had to travel to work on Saturday night to be in work in time on Sunday because of the lack of trains.

Passenger Anthony Perkins tweeted the company, asking how long the “nightmare” would continue.

Northern rail’s summer of disruption

Image copyright PA

On 5 August, Northern said the cancellations came after train workers had “made themselves unavailable”.

Staff contracts mean employees do not have to work on Sundays if they provide seven days’ notice.

Earlier this week, RMT general secretary Mick Cash said it was “outrageous for Northern to try and lump the blame” on their workforce.

A Northern spokesman responded: “We actually have more drivers than we need to run a full timetable in normal circumstances.”

Ms Hughes said: “It is outrageous that Northern think it is acceptable to keep cancelling scores of services on Sundays.”

She said the firm’s announcement of the cancellations late on Friday afternoon showed “scant regard” for rail passengers.

“Enough is enough. We need real answers and an end to this weekly shambles,” she added.

“I want the secretary of state to step in and find out what’s going on in that company and make sure we have a management in place that can deliver the services that the public need.”

The BBC has contacted the Department of Transport for a comment.

Services were amended between:

  • Liverpool to Manchester Airport
  • Wigan North Western – Liverpool
  • Blackpool South – Colne and Blackpool – Carlisle
  • Lancaster – Morecambe
  • Manchester Piccadilly – Hazel Grove
  • Southport – Wigan – Manchester – Blackburn

Northern said: “Ongoing engineering projects have caused severe difficulties around the short-notice scheduling of our train crews.

“This is the root cause of what has required us to make these planned cancellations to our main Sunday timetable.

“We are sorry that our customers continue to experience some disruption to their weekend services.”

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