Two quick train related updates today.
Yesterday morning my social media was filled with commuters upset that a large number of key commuter trains through Bolton had been cancelled with no notice, leaving many people unable to get to work or extremely late.
“Staff shortages” was the reason cited, so I contacted Northern straight away to ask for a full explanation. I received a response late last night, which you can read below. It sounds like yet another failure by Northern to effectively manage their industrial relations. I hope that this issue will be addressed swiftly.
At the end of August we saw a nine day closure of the Bolton line while electrification work was undertaken. Rail replacement bus services were in operation.
Tuesday 28th August was the first working day under these arrangements and it quickly became clear that for passengers at Bromley Cross and Hall i’ th’ Wood stations the buses were not adequate. One a route served by a 3 or 4 carriage train every half hour there was just one single decker bus every sixty minutes. I raised this with Northern straight away and they promised action to improve the service for the following days, which I shared with commuters on social media.
I have now received a response from Northern regarding the issues with the rail replacement services on the Bromley Cross – Manchester route this morning, please share with anyone who may benefit. I hope this leads to an improved situation tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/h4kccedRaR
— David Crausby (@DavidCrausby) August 28, 2018
While there was improvement the next day there were still difficulties for many passengers. Worryingly Northern staff on the ground appeared to be reporting nobody being left behind, in direct conflict to comments from local residents. This needed to be addressed so I reached out to commuters and gathered their accounts to build a full picture of how poor the bus service had been and I shared this with Northern. I have now received a full response on this matter and you can read the letter below.
The Government are wrong to act like all the issues with our trains have been fixed. Every day still seems like a gamble for commuters who just have to cross their fingers and hope everything runs ok today. It’s not good enough. Please be assured that this issue remains one of my priorities and I shall continue to lobby Government Ministers and the rail operators to deliver a decent service.