Train operator Northern Rail has announced it is removing 165 trains per day from schedules until the end of July to “stabilise service levels” amid major disruption following the introduction of a new timetable.
Commuters today faced another day of travel chaos as the new train timetables introduced in an attempt to modernise the UK’s railways continue to cause delays.
A shortage of train drivers meant that Northern cancelled more than 100 trains that would otherwise have set off over the course of Friday, with severe disruption reported between Manchester Airport and Blackpool North.
The route between Windermere and Oxenholme was also heavily affected, Northern warned passengers via Twitter.
Meanwhile, the UK’s largest train operating company, Govia Thameslink Railway, which is responsible for Thameslink, Southern, Great Northern and Gatwick Express - announced that five of its morning Thameslink services were reduced in capacity by a third.
Angry travellers took to Twitter this morning to bemoan the service, with users saying they are “tired of always getting home late and being late for work”.
Transport union RMT said railway workers were “bearing the brunt of public anger”, criticising the train companies and the Department of Transport for a lack of support.
Calling for the transport secretary to step down over the issue, RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Not only is Chris Grayling incompetent and not fit to run a railway but he is a coward as well, leaving RMT members to take the flack for failed policies that are his responsibility.
“Grayling should get out, the private companies he is propping up should be sacked and the vital rail services the nation depends on should be returned to public ownership.”
On Thursday, the two rail operators released a join statement alongside Network Rail blaming the disruption on the new timetable being released later than normal, meaning train companies had less time to prepare for the changes - including training drivers for the new routes.
Operators were left at a loss to “address all of the logistical challenges”, the companies said.
The Times reported that rail disruptions caused by the new timetables were likely to cause commuter misery until August.