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It’s been another week of chaos on Bolton’s trains. Every day there have been huge numbers of cancellations, delays and short-formed services with poor passenger information leaving people hugely frustrated.

Following on from my blog two weeks ago I again contacted Northern rail to ask why there seemed to be no plan in place to handle the driver shortage. It can’t be right that day to day, hour to hour, nobody seems to know which services will run and which will not. Northern have provided no answers to this.

The lack of transparency from Northern is a big problem and damages their reputation almost as much as their poor service.

For weeks all they have said that the current disruption is all down to driver training on the Blackpool line. They’ve repeatedly said this to passengers at stations, they said it to me in person, they’ve said it in press releases and letters as well.

Today I received a newsletter from Northern which confirms that there is another problem that they haven’t mentioned before. Their business is reliant on drivers working on their contracted rest days and that arrangement has not been in place for three months.

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Northern need to remember that they are operating a public service and they are accountable. When there are problems they need to be open and honest. When they fail to provide a service they should be held accountable.

This has gone on long enough and the Government can’t keep ignoring the problem. I’ve put my name to a motion in Parliament calling on the Government to launch an urgent inquiry and hold Northern to account for their failings.

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