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The December 2019 new rail timetable kicked in yesterday. Rail users across the North are seeing a mixed picture with some new services and trains but still too many cancellations and instances of over-crowding. Transport for the North’s views have been clear:
David Hoggarth, Strategic Rail Director at Transport for the North, said:
“It has been a deeply disappointing Monday for passengers and commuters alike. So far, we’ve seen planned cancellations, unplanned cancellations, crowded trains and people left-behind on platforms. We know that, on at least one TransPennine Express route, only around half the planned services have run this morning.
“We repeatedly called on operators to assure us that extreme care was being taken in the run-up to this timetable change, and we demanded back-up plans and mitigations to be in place for any shortfalls in service, for whatever reason. But early signs are not good.
“The North needs extra train capacity – but not at any price. Where operators fail to meet their basic obligations, action is being taken. This includes financial penalties for failure to provide a service and compensation measures for those affected. None of this helps today though if you’re a passenger in the pre-Christmas rush.
“We are intensively monitoring the service of both operators and will be calling for further remedial plans where needed. This is further evidence that emerging Government policy must consider how the North has a greater say in how these processes are managed and where investments are made.”