Rail services in the North are getting worse - and bosses have been asked to explain why

Rail services in the North have got worse over the last year
Rail services in the North have got worse over the last year

Bosses at Northern and Transpennine Express are due to appear before a group of councillors to explain why rail services in the North have been getting worse.

A report produced by Transport for the North shows both operators' performance has gone downhill in the last 12 months, with reliability and overcrowding problems a cause for "significant concern".

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Despite improvements in their public performance measure score in the first half of 2018, both Northern and TransPennine saw the figures drop off from May.

In his report to Transport for the North's Rail North committee, transport planner Tom Davidson said: "Levels of reliability are now lower than in the same period for 2018, with a number of severe weather events, traincrew cancellations and fleet failures having a particularly significant impact.

"The downturn in reliability is a significant concern going into the autumn, when demand traditionally increases and the effects of leaf fall can have an impact on performance."

Over a 28-day period across July and August this year, Northern averaged 139 cancellations a day - roughly one in 20 services. Just over a third of those were caused by other rail operators or Network Rail.

TransPennine averaged 42 cancellations a day - around one in eight of its services. Around 60 per cent of those were outside of its control.

Northern also told transport chiefs around 114 passengers a day were unable to board trains due to overcrowding.

Representatives of both operators are due to appear at today's committee meeting to explain the issues affecting performance to a group of councillors from authorities across the North.

Ahead of the meeting, a spokesman for Northern said: “Our performance has been steadily improving over the past 12 months as we have worked hard to bring stability and reliability to our services.

"We know there is more to do, and our customers were impacted over the summer by extreme weather causing flooding and damage to overhead lines and disruption to many rail services across the country.

"Northern is delivering the biggest transformation of local rail for a generation, with 18 of our 101 new trains already in service and driver training on a further 20 trains taking place right now.”

A spokesman for TransPennine Express said: “Last month our customers experienced some disruption to their journeys.

"This was due to a number of factors, the most significant being weather events such as flooding and extreme heat. Performance has improved this month and we are working hard to ensure that we continue to provide the best possible service for our customers.”