Extra trains plan for Northern and TransPennine Express is delayed

Northern and TransPennine Express will not be increasing the number of trains through the region in December, the industry has announced.

Tuesday, 10th July 2018, 9:01 am
Updated Monday, 16th July 2018, 4:58 pm
The introduction of additional services and extra capacity on parts of Britain's railways by the end of the year has been delayed.

The introduction of additional services and extra capacity on parts of Britain's railways by the end of the year has been delayed.

Changes to timetables due to be made in December have been postponed for eight operators following the chaos which came after schedule alterations on May 20.

A "more cautious approach" will be taken to ensure passengers can "plan their journeys with confidence", industry body the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) said.

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The Government has "accepted the rail industry's recommended approach", the RDG added.

The operators which will continue with their planned existing timetable in December are Northern, TransPennine Express, CrossCountry, Govia Thameslink Railway, Great Western Railway, London Overground, South Western Railway (SWR) and West MidlandsTrains.

SWR said in a statement it was "disappointed" that it will not be going ahead with its "major timetable change" in December, which would have led to extra services and more capacity throughout the day.

The decision was taken "at a national level that a period of stability is needed", it added.

Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, claimed "yet again, a major decision on rail services has been made without warning, without consultation with northern leaders and without a voice for passengers".

Anthony Smith, chief executive of passenger watchdog Transport Focus, said the timetable announcement is a "pragmatic step to help maintain a more dependable service" but warned that "long-suffering passengers who have put up with much inconvenience ... will be disappointed that promised improvements may be delivered more slowly".

Sir Peter Hendy, chairman of Network Rail, the Government-owned company for managing Britain's rail infrastructure, said the industry has "scaled back its ambition" after taking into account "recent painful lessons".

He went on: "While there will still be new services introduced this December, other new services will now be introduced more gradually over the next few timetable changes to help smooth their introduction and maintain a reliable service for passengers and businesses alike."

RDG chief executive Paul Plummer said: "In parts of the country, many people have suffered unacceptable disruption following the introduction of the new timetable in May for which we are sincerely sorry.

"Working together, the industry is determined to learn the lessons from what went wrong."

The announcement means returning to confirming timetables 12 weeks ahead will take longer than planned, and is now not expected to happen until May next year.