Airshow rail farce sparks more anger

Caroline Guilfolye's splendid photograph of the Red Arrows at Blackpool Airshow
Caroline Guilfolye's splendid photograph of the Red Arrows at Blackpool Airshow
Share this article

Rail operator Northern has been ridiculed for cancelling Blackpool-bound trains –on the same day it was sponsoring the resort’s Air Show.

Some trains to the resort were curtailed on Sunday meaning anyone wanting to get to the display had to make other arrangements.

Anger has been aimed at Northern Rail over the weekend's disruption

Anger has been aimed at Northern Rail over the weekend's disruption

Northern apologised, blaming engineering work delays which disrupted crew rescheduling.

A spokesman said: “Northern is sorry for any disruption that customers may have faced as a result of planned cancellations on Sunday on parts of our network in the North West of England.

“Northern announced these changes as early as possible so that customers had as much certainty as possible when planning their journeys.”

But Alan Cavill, director of communications and regeneration for Blackpool Council, said: “It is disappointing that trains were cancelled over the weekend but, it was not unexpected; as a result we have been able to introduce other measures at key times to enable those visitors who come by other means of transport to get the best possible experience.

“Services in and out of Blackpool have been adversely affected for several weeks now and we are continuing to put pressure on the rail operators to ensure that the tourism industry is not taking a disproportionate amount of disruption.”

Fylde MP Mark Menzies has also blasted Northern for the latest cancellations.

He said: "I am astounded that Northern Rail cancelled services yet again on our Blackpool South line last Sunday.

"It is simply not good enough and I have written to both Northern Rail and the Minister for Transport to ask that the matter be fully investigated.

"If Northern cannot provide the services on its timetable, it is time to bring in someone who can.

"They are really running out of excuses now – I understand there has been a lot of engineering works to improve the network, but we have had those blamed, staff holidays blamed, union stances blamed, staff sickness blamed, and the ridiculous situation whereby we were told staff do not have to work on a Sunday should they choose not to.

"This is no way to run rail services, especially in the summer months when we expect our businesses, our shops, hotels, cafes and restaurants, to be benefitting from tourists coming into the area by rail.

"And I will not stand for my constituents facing ever-more uncertainty about how to get to and from work and schools and nurseries to collect and drop off children.

"Northern really need to understand how simple it is – we need a reliable, clean, efficient and affordable rail service now."