Northern says 'overwhelming majority' of services will continue under new timetable

Northern passengers have been told “the overwhelming majority” of services will continue running when a new timetable is introduced next month.

The state-run operator said there will be several changes from Sunday December 10 which “reflect the lower demand during the winter months”.

As part of the changes, the 5.51pm service between Huddersfield and Sheffield will be axed.

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Additional carriages will be added to services between Knottingley to Leeds, which will also call at Outwood.

(Photo courtesy of Northern Rail)(Photo courtesy of Northern Rail)
(Photo courtesy of Northern Rail)

But the number of carriages on some off-peak trains running between Doncaster and Leeds, Bradford and Ilkley, and Skipton and Leeds will be cut from four to three. There will also be fewer carriages between Leeds and Carlisle.

Kerry Peters, regional director for Northern, said: “Whilst the overwhelming majority of our services remain as is – customers should double check any regular journeys they make – especially those with short connections.”

According to the latest figures the operator cancelled 8 per cent of services over four weeks to October 17, when p-coded cancellations, made as late as 10pm the night before the train was due, were taken into account.

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During that period, almost 1,700 services were cancelled due to train crew shortages.

It runs around 2,500 services a day to more than 500 stations across the North of England.

Passengers who travel with TransPennine Express have been told a new timetable with fewer services will be introduced in December.

Managing Director Chris Jackson said the operator will run around 20 fewer off-peak services each day, to free up resources so it can address a massive driver training backlog and tackle long-standing issues with reliability.

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It is cutting the number of off-peak trains running between Leeds and Manchester to three an hour over a 12-month period, but peak time services will remain unchanged.

It comes after First Group lost the contract to run services in May and the Government’s Operator of Last Resort took over, because passengers had been forced to endure 18 months of widespread cancellations.

The operator has blamed its recent issues on a lack of fully-trained drivers, claiming just 70 per cent of them are trained to operate services on all routes and there is currently a backlog of 3,000 training days.