Latest Rail News


Burnham urges May to ‘solve the railway chaos’ after botched emergency timetables

The mayor of Greater Manchester has today written to Theresa May calling on her to intervene to solve constant disruption to rail services in the north.

Andy Burnham said it was “frankly outrageous” that the introduction of emergency timetables had not led to service improvements, dozens of Sunday services from Northern Rail were cancelled, and passengers could be left stranded due to last-minute changes with rail users being notified on short-notice.

His letter to the PM comes after more chaos on Northern’s services over the weekend: on Sunday 29 July a massive 47 services were withdrawn from Northern’s lines due to staffing shortages, including nearly every service between Liverpool and Manchester Airport.

Burnham wrote: “It is frankly outrageous for emails to be dispatched at 9pm on a Saturday night telling people that there will be a much-reduced service the following day. People heading to Manchester Airport to go on holiday will have been left stranded as will others with work and family commitments. Passengers cannot be left in the lurch like this.

“This is no way to run a railway and we cannot continue to put up with a rail service provided when the operators can be bothered. People’s lives are being badly affected by this chaos and the government cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the plight of Northern commuters.”

Burnham’s outcry is the latest in a series of scathing responses from the Greater Manchester mayor to the north-west’s tragic rail services. In June Burnham claimed Chris Grayling was “asleep at the wheel” in his handling of the debacle that was the implementation of new timetables on 20 May.

The letter from the mayor follows the latest performance figures for north-west services, highlighting how improvements intended to fix the timetables in May have failed to take effect.

The number of Northern services in its central region arriving on time has declined to 77.2%, compared to 88.4% in the corresponding period last year. Merseyside services into Manchester/Wigan and North Manchester services saw 991 train cancellations (12.7% and 8.5% of services respectively).

A promise by Chris Grayling to end the chaos on the Northern rail network has “failed to bring any meaningful action” to turn things around, Burnham argued.

“The time has come for the PM to get involved and that is why I have written to her today,” he concluded. “She needs to come here to meet with Northern commuters so she can hear first-hand the effect this is having on their lives. She then needs to hold an urgent meeting with the rail industry to get clear answers from them as to why things are still so bad and an action plan to turn the situation around.”

Enjoying RTM? Subscribe here to receive our weekly news updates or click here to receive a copy of the magazine!

Image credit: Danny Lawson, PA Images


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

Rail industry Focus

View all News


The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >

Most Read

'the sleepers' blog

On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

29/06/2020On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

Following an independent audit, Sulzer’s Nottingham Service Centre has been accepted as part of the rail industry supplier approval scheme (RISAS). The accreditation reinforces the high-quality standards that are maintained by Sulzer’s... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he would not rule out his organisation issuing future r... more >
Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projects across the UK, Pearson Business School, part of... more >