Northern is running temporary changes to its timetable, on some routes, to help reduce last minute cancellations to services.
Temporary timetables will be available for the affected routes at the bottom of this page. These timetables may be updated weekly, to ensure we are offering the best service possible. So please check before you travel.
This interim timetable will enable Northern to start to stabilise service levels over the next few weeks and, importantly, start to reduce the number of last-minute train cancellations.
In the short-term we will be running fewer services, but still more than we did before the May timetable change. We then hope to get back to a full timetable service by the end of July.
It has been arranged for Northern tickets to be accepted by other train companies until 29 July 2018. This means if your Northern train is delayed or cancelled, you can use your ticket to travel on the below train companies’ services:
Virgin Trains East Coast
East Midlands Trains
David Brown, Managing Director, Northern said: “We have been experiencing some significant disruption to train services, especially around north Manchester, Bolton, Liverpool, Blackpool and up to the Lake District. I’d like to apologise for this unacceptable situation and for the disruption and inconvenience many passengers have faced. We’re truly sorry for this and are working hard to fix this.
David added: “Again I would like to apologise on behalf of Northern for the unacceptable service many customers have been subject to. We are absolutely committed to resolving the service issues, and the interim plan will help ensure we start to get back on track and start to give customers more certainty around the services we operate.
What areas are affected?
From the beginning of July Northern intends to introduce a shuttle rail service on the Lakes Line. This will be 12 services per day operating between 6.30 and 8pm, with rail replacement buses to cover gaps in service for crew breaks.
In the meantime, we have removed all services to and from Preston, Lancaster and Oxenholme and will, instead, operate a replacement bus service to keep people who live, work and visit the Lake District on the move.
This includes express coaches in operation for commuters, stopping services for tourists and special buses for school children – ensuring you can continue to travel along the Lakes Line and enjoy all the Lake District has to offer.
In and around Blackpool we are reducing services between Blackpool South and Preston, Preston and Colne and will remove a small number of off-peak services between Blackpool North and Manchester Airport. Other services between Blackpool North and Manchester Piccadilly will start/terminate at Manchester Oxford Road.
There will be reductions between Ormskirk and Preston and a small number between Blackburn and Southport via Manchester Victoria, whilst many services on the Lancaster to Morecambe line will be removed.
We have reduced services on the Kirkby to Manchester Victoria line via Wigan, and the number of trains operating each day between Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge.
Liverpool City Region
Additionally, as already extensively communicated, there is a closure of Liverpool Lime Street for two months whilst significant work takes place on resignalling and remodelling of the infrastructure. We have reduced services during this interim period as a result of this closure. This will see three trains per hour run between Liverpool and Wigan/Manchester Victoria.
On a number of these routes there will be alternative rail services available, as well as other modes of transport. Where available, rail replacement buses will also operate on affected routes with details provided locally for customers.
As a result of these amendments we will be operating 165 fewer services each day – equivalent to 6% of our daily total.
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 on train drivers, and to explain that we actually have more drivers than we need to run a full timetable in normal circumstances. We currently have 1,529 train drivers, 180 more than when we started the franchise.
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.