Transport Secretary Chris Grayling apologises for timetable change delays

Andy Burnham has called for a meeting with Chris Grayling

"We are introducing 1,300 new train services a week, and fitting in these and other train companies' services has meant that we have had to change 90% of our timetabled trains".

Measures to improve services include driver rostering to get more trains running, increasing driver training on new routes, additional contingency drivers and putting extra peak services in the timetable along the Bolton corridor, including between Buckshaw and Manchester Victoria, and Preston and Manchester Oxford Road. It has been hard for many of our customers, in particular on a number of routes around north Manchester extending up to Blackpool, and we are very sorry for this.

Following the announcement, David Brown, managing director at Northern, apologised to the operator's customers.

A GTR spokesman said new services were being added "incrementally" due to the "scale and complexity of the task" which involves redeploying drivers and trains as well as changing operating practices.

He told the Commons: 'What we've seen in the last few days hasn't been good enough.

Northern is running hundreds more services now compared to last week, helping deliver the biggest change to rail timetables in a generation.

They said that if an agreed action plan is not followed by Northern then "a process be initiated to remove Arriva Rail North's franchise to operate".

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Mr Grayling said the government was trying to improve service but admitted that the level of disruption that passengers have experienced in the north was "unacceptable".

Rail Minister Jo Johnson is leading discussions with Transport for the North Chief Executive, Barry White.

And for him to claim that "improving the service for Northern customers" is belatedly the DfT's "number one performance priority", the operator's track record has been so dismal for so long that this should have been the case long before this week's misery for passengers revealed, once again, the Minister's contempt for this region.

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

The mayors said the chaos on the network has been "so extreme" that Northern has "lost the benefit of the doubt". We have received a timetable recovery plan from Northern to address these concerns and improve the rail experience for passengers.

Strengthening resources within The Rail North Partnership Team to ensure Northern's Action Plan can be closely monitored throughout its implementation.

To help keep you on the move during RMT strike action on Thursday 24 and Saturday 26 May we will run as many services as possible each day.

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