Union bosses call for Northern to be stripped of its rail franchise after service cancellations

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Northern Rail'Train
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The biggest rail workers union had repeated calls for Arriva Rail North to be stripped of its franchise after the company cancelled scores of services today.

The operator said it was removing some services on several parts of the North West network so that customers can have “more certainty in planning their journeys”.

About 80 services will not run out of a total of 1,500 train services today following similar disruption last weekend.

The areas most affected will be Liverpool, Greater Manchester and Lancashire where Arriva (Northern) said ongoing engineering projects have caused severe difficulties around the short-notice scheduling of train crews.

A spokesman for Northern, said: “We are sorry that our customers continue to experience some disruption to their weekend services. We are advising anyone thinking of travelling on Sunday on these routes to plan their journey carefully.”

Rail, Maritime and Transport union general secretary Mick Cash said: “Yet again today services on Arriva Rail North have been reduced to chaos as this basket case franchise lurches from crisis to crisis.

“Northern have chosen to declare war on their passengers and staff alike and they couldn’t care less about safety, access and reliability. They are a disgrace and should be kicked off the tracks.

“It is outrageous for Northern Rail once again to try and lump the blame for the crew shortages that have led to widespread cancellations today on their workforce.

“It is a scam to try and cover up the fact that they simply don’t hire enough workers to fill their rosters and want to run services on the cheap to pump up their profits.

“That is exactly why they are trying to axe guards on nearly half a million trains a year.

“This nonsense about ‘staff making themselves unavailable’ is a disgrace and our members are rightly angry at the suggestion that the service chaos on successive Sundays is somehow down to them and not the company which has repeatedly shown itself as unfit to run a railway.

“ARN should be stripped of the franchise and the Northern routes should be nationalised immediately.”