Rail North Partnership (RNP) asked the rail industry to assess and recommend options to improve the reliability of services for customers from the end of Northern’s interim timetable, which finishes on Sunday 29 July. RNP manages the Northern and TransPennine Express (TPE) franchises on behalf of Transport for the North and the Department for Transport.
RNP approved the industry’s recommendation which included the option of a phased reintroduction of all services. This phasing enables the industry to focus on further service improvement work across Greater Manchester.
Northern, which removed 6% of services (168 a day) from its timetable on 4 June, will reinstate 75% of these from 30 July, and introduce the remaining 25% in September.
David Brown, Managing Director, Northern said: "The May timetable caused significant disruption for customers on some routes on our network and we’re truly sorry for that. We introduced an interim timetable on a number of routes from 4 June, and that has enabled us to accelerate our driver training, stabilise service levels, improve performance and significantly reduce last-minute cancellations."
"Whilst we are ready to reintroduce all 168 daily services, given the need to drive further improvements across Manchester, we have agreed to a more gradual reintroduction of our services. A phased introduction is the right approach to ensure a more stable and reliable service for customers."
Northern service reintroductions
Following the partial reintroduction of services on Monday 2 July, a full service (35 trains a day) on the Lakes line will be reintroduced from Monday 30 July.
We are reintroducing all services from Blackpool to Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly (31 daily services in total) on Monday 30 July.
17 services a day (of the 30 removed) will be reintroduced on Monday 30 July between Blackpool South and Colne, via Preston. The remaining 13 services will be reinstated in September.
There will be ten daily services (out of the 16 removed) reintroduced on 30 July between Ormskirk and Preston, with the remaining six reinstated in September.
All 24 services on the Lancaster to Morecambe line will be reinstated on 30 July.
The four services between Preston and Blackburn will also be reinstated on 30 July.
The six Blackburn to Southport services will be reinstated in September.
We will reintroduce four services a day (of the 10 removed) on the Kirkby to Manchester Victoria line via Wigan on 30 July. The other six services will be reinstated during September.
The Manchester Victoria to Stalybridge services (12 removed) will all be reinstated in September.
Train times will be live in industry information systems from Saturday 21 July and downloadable timetables on the Northern website also available from Monday.
Additional service changes
Liverpool Lime Street reopening
Following the completion of major upgrade works by Network Rail, Liverpool Lime Street will reopen and Northern will recommence the vast majority of its services to and from Liverpool on Monday 30 July.
The following Liverpool services will be reintroduced on Monday 3 September:
Liverpool to Manchester Oxford Road (4 services)
Liverpool to Warrington Bank Quay (15 services)
What caused the problem?
Northern’s new timetable was designed to provide extra services, making use of our growing train fleet and infrastructure upgrades including the Ordsall Chord, at Liverpool Lime St and between Manchester and Blackpool. However, the timetable had to be planned and delivered in four months compared to the normal 9-12 months.
This was because in January 2018 it was announced that there would be a further delay in delivery of the electrification of the Manchester-Preston via Bolton line, bringing the delay to two years. As a result of this announcement we had to totally rewrite our timetable plan and then plan and deliver significant levels of complex driver training on new routes and to operate different trains. This has caused us to have a reduction in availability of drivers to run our scheduled train services whilst they complete their training, and this has resulted in the significant number of last minute cancellations.
One area we want to clarify is the position
We are having to complete a significant amount of driver training as a result of the delayed Blackpool electrification programme, and a large number of additional last-minute route changes as a result of the May timetable. The interim timetable will enable us to accelerate the completion of this training.
Monday 13 August - Friday 17 August
Saturday 18 August
Sunday 19 August
Monday 20 August - Friday 24 August
Sunday 26 August
Monday 27 August - Friday 31 August
Tuesday 28 August - Friday 31 August