Reliability on key rail routes serving the North was getting significantly worse even before the timetabling chaos which caused misery for passengers, official statistics show.
Key indicators showing whether trains arrived at their destination at the time advertised declined for Northern, TransPennine Express and Virgin Trains East Coast in the year ending March 31.
Less than two thirds (65.3 per cent) of trains run by Northern arrived at the right time, with 5.4 per cent arriving more than ten minutes late. A higher proportion of trains (2.2 per cent) were cancelled compared to the previous year.
TransPennine Express fared even worse, with less than half (49 per cent) of trains arriving at the right time, 13.7 per cent more than ten minutes late, and 5 per cent cancelled.
Collapsed franchise Virgin Trains East Coast also performed badly, with under half (44 per cent) of its trains arriving at the right time, 18.5 per cent more than ten minutes late and 3.2 per cent cancelled.
Shadow Transport Minister Rachael Maskell said the Office for Rail and Road figures released on Thursday showed Britain’s railways are in “decline”
The York Central MP said: “It has taken a full-blown crisis to put the state of Northern transport on the national agenda but passengers suffered a decline in services even before the timetabling chaos.
“The Tories are doing serious damage to the railway and it might take years to restore the confidence of passengers.”
The figures were released as Transport Secretary Chris Grayling and his Ministers faced a barrage of criticism from northern MPs in the House of Commons.
Ms Maskell said Northern and TransPennine rail passengers hit by cancellations and delays following the botched introduction of new timetables on May 20 were “paying their own compensation” after Transport for the North (TfN) agreed on a package last week to be funded by publicly-owned Network Rail.
She said the operators should foot the bill instead, adding: “Network Rail paying compensation means that this is coming from taxpayers, the public.
“So in effect, passengers will be funding their own compensation for delays and cancelled trains, for missing exams, for being sacked from their jobs or for lost business revenue.
“So how much compensation has the Minister budgeted for the Secretary of State’s decision to press ahead with this rail timetable chaos?
“Or is he instead going to cut more Network Rail projects to pay for it?”
Rail Minister Jo Johnson replied: “The Secretary of State has always been clear - we will review where responsibility lies and the rail industry will be responsible for undertaking that appropriate compensation to make sure passengers have the right redress.
“The rail industry is partly in public control through Network Rail and partly run by private operators. Each will pay their fair share.”
Conservative MP Kevin Hollinrake said Yorkshire passengers were being untreated unfairly in the compensation scheme and were still suffering “significant delays” on TransPennine.
He said: “Will the Minister do everything he can to persuade TransPennine Express to improve these services and offer proper compensation?
“Passengers in Yorkshire are getting one week’s compensation for season ticket holders, the ones in the North West are getting one month - that does not seem fair.”
Mr Johnson replied: “Transport for the North has determined that passengers on the most severely affected routes, principally on Northern services, will get four weeks cash compensation, and those on the less severely affected routes which happen to be in Yorkshire will receive one week’s cash compensation.”
Bradford South MP Judith Cummins backed the One North campaign championed by The Yorkshire Post, bemoaning “endless” delays and cancellations, “bias” against the North in rail investment decisions and reports that TransPennine electrification is going to be scrapped altogether.
The Labour MP added: “Will the Minister now respond properly to the One North campaign and commit to giving Transport for the North the full powers and funding it needs to deliver the changes we need?”