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PM urged to intervene in Northern travel misery as inquiry will take too long

Theresa May must intervene to fix the travel chaos across the north, Jeremy Corbyn has said.

Corbyn’s comments come following timetable changes that unleashed a barrage of disruptions across the north.

“The government must take urgent action to fix the travel chaos unleashed on the north of England by Chris Grayling’s failures,” he said.

Arguing that northern communities get just “a fraction” of the transport investment that the south east receives, he said that the Tories should be “working day and night to put this scandal right.”

He accused transport secretary Chris Grayling of “trying to pass the buck” and urged the prime minister to personally intervene to end the disruption.

Corbyn’s comments come shortly after the chief executive of Transport Focus, Anthony Smith, wrote to all newspapers across the north of England about the ongoing timetable crisis.

In the letter, he said that unprecedented delays, confusions and cancellations have made the lives of Northern passengers miserable in recent weeks, despite the organisation warning about timetabling problems a year ago.

In response to these concerns, the rail industry temporarily shortened timetable advance publication and assured the watchdog that the problems were being dealt with.

The leader of the opposition welcomed the inquiry into how these investments and potential improvements have “gone sour,” adding that the actions of governments, Network Rail and train companies need reviewing so that timetable planning can be put back on a proper long-term footing.

However, he said that passengers cannot wait for the inquiry and need stable timetables with reliable services, compensation for poor service and for the whole industry to pull together to help passengers through the crisis now, including lifting ticket restrictions and help passengers, whichever train company they need to use.

In a joint statement, Network Rail, Northern and Govia Thameslink Rail have all apologised for the disruption.

Speaking to her cabinet on Tuesday, Theresa May said: “It is important we get to grips with this issue quickly.

“The current passenger disruption is letting people down and it’s absolutely unacceptable.”

She said that fixing the problem is an “absolute priority,” and that those affected must be properly compensated.

Top image: Gareth Fuller PA Wire


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