Network Rail and Northern announced today they will be commissioning an independent report and recommendations into the preparations and processes leading up to the implementation of the recent timetable change.

Customer groups, transport and Northern stakeholders will be invited to contribute to the report.

Since the introduction of the new timetable on Sunday 20 May, many train customers have faced delays, cancellations and overcrowding. The timetable change, the biggest in decades, is designed to boost capacity with better trains and more services in the long-term. However more immediately it has not delivered an acceptable service for customers, especially on routes around north Manchester extending up to Blackpool.

The multi-billion pound investment plan in the north will mean improved connections, shorter journey times, larger and better trains and more comfortable journeys. There will be more frequent trains delivered through track and train upgrades as part of the Great North Rail Project.

This is in addition to measures announced yesterday to tackle the current disruption.

Martin Frobisher, managing director for Network Rail’s London North Western route, said: “We recognise how tough it has been for customers, particularly since the May timetable change last weekend and we’re sorry for that. We are working hard with Northern to get service back to where it needs to be. We will work as one team to achieve this.

“The independent report will ensure lessons are learned and that there are no repeats of current problems as we prepare for the next major timetable change in December this year.”

David Brown, managing director of Northern, said: “We are doing everything we can to minimise cancellations and delays and keep our customers informed. It has been difficult for many of our customers and I am truly sorry for this.

“There is urgent work to do to fully understand what did and didn’t work on all aspects of planning and delivery of the new timetable.

“We are committed to working with Network Rail and Northern stakeholders to deliver the services our customers expect and deserve.”