YET again, the long-suffering passengers of Northern find themselves inconvenienced by a company that appears unable to fulfil the most fundamental duty placed upon it – to provide services that take people where they want to go.
The cancellation of more than 170 services is bad enough in itself.
But the reason offered by Northern, that staff shortages were caused by people booking time off to watch the World Cup final, defies belief.
It is surely incumbent on this company to ensure that it has sufficient staff to run trains, and plan accordingly.
The date of the final has been known for months, and even when it seemed possible that England would reach it, should Northern have not imposed a limit on the number of staff it was allowing to book the day off? This is yet another own goal by Northern, coming after the debacle of timetable changes which plunged services into chaos and left commuters facing nightmarish journeys to work.
Passengers have every right to expect that their convenience is uppermost in the minds of those who run the rail franchises, as opposed to the desires of staff to spend an afternoon in front of the television watching the World Cup.
Cancelling yet more trains can only further undermine the public’s confidence in Northern to run a network that this region’s passengers deserve, and does nothing to suggest that the Department of Transport, already in the dock for its failings, is taking this problem anything like seriously enough.