Northern is deeply sorry for the unacceptable disruption caused to our customers in the north west of England following the introduction of the new timetable on Sunday 20 May 2018. We apologise unreservedly to our customers who did not receive the service they deserve in affected areas.
Our team worked hard to stabilise services by putting in place an interim timetable on some routes in North-West England from 4 June 2018, withdrawing 165 of our 2,800 daily services on a temporary basis to provide more certainty to customers. We have reinstated 151 of those 165 services. Punctuality has also steadily improved, with 87% of services arriving on schedule over the first two weeks of September 2018.
Customers holding season tickets are receiving compensation for the disruption they experienced under a special scheme – and last week the Department for Transport announced that the Delay Repay compensation scheme would be improved from December.
Northern accepts that many customers had insufficient information about disruption following the introduction of the May timetable and is committed to significantly improving information for customers. This includes investing over £5 million on new information screens and public address systems at stations to improve the provision of information for customers.
The ORR Report has confirmed that the root cause of the timetable disruption was delays to engineering projects to improve the railway. Normally, train operators are given 40 weeks to plan the twice-yearly introduction of a new timetable. However, due to delayed engineering projects in North-West England, Northern had to entirely re-write its May 2018 timetable in just 16 weeks.
Northern will now consider in detail the findings in the ORR Report. We want to learn the lessons of the May timetable disruption and will be working closely with other organisations across the rail industry to ensure new timetabling is implemented as effectively as possible for customers in the future.