Calls For An Inquiry Into Northern Rail

16 May 2018, 09:05 | Updated: 16 May 2018, 09:07

General view of Northern Rail train

Greater Manchester's mayor has called for an official investigation into Northern Rail after being bombarded with complaints about its service from passengers since the start of the year.

Andy Burnham has written to Transport for the North following weeks of disruption, including frequent delays, last-minute cancellations and overcrowded on-board conditions.

He has asked its chairman John Cridland to assess whether Northern Rail has breached its licence to operate.

Mr Burnham said data showed that Northern Rail had recently missed its targets for delays and cancelled services, including double the number of anticipated cancellations during March.

Targets of increased trains per hour between Manchester and other Greater Manchester locations, as well as new route options and connections, have not been met, he added.

The mayor said rail users had been in contact with him via social media to highlight their negative experiences of Northern Rail.

His office has quoted complaints from two rail users, with one telling the mayor: "This morning's train into Manchester is as ridiculous as ever. Doors keep jamming and if someone doesn't pass out due to heat and overcrowding it will be a miracle! Please hold Northern to account."

The second said: "On a daily basis we have to put up with the incompetence and frankly dangerous overcrowding on Northern Rail trains. When are you going to help us @MayorofGM? We deserve a public transport system that can do the basics!"

Mr Burnham said: "How can it be right that Northern presides over a service on which dangerous overcrowding in rush-hour is the norm, to such an extent that we know passengers have been taken ill?

"What accountability exists for an operator so persistently failing in its duty to deliver a reliable, safe service?

"The time has come to increase pressure on Northern to start delivering for its customers."