Train company apologises for Blackpool service

Northern has issued an apology
Northern has issued an apology
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Train operator Northern has apologised for the reduced service and cancellations on the Blackpool North line and beyond.

The apology comes as Blackpool-based Sector Champion for Rail, Stephen Brookes wrote to Northern, Network Rail and the Office of the Rail Regulator, to complain about the situation.

He said: “Given the time between November and mid April we have seen no trains at Blackpool, and we now have a very deeply restricted and massively unreliable service between Blackpool and Preston after the supposed publicised reopening on April 16. Even today we are still seeing cancellations due to a driver shortage.

“It really does seem that passengers are just not being taken as important. The added impact on people with access issues such as pre booking help is becoming unacceptable.

A Northern spokesman: "“We would like to apologise for the delays and cancellations some passengers have been experiencing, especially over the last few weeks. We know this has been causing people to be delayed reaching their destinations and for that we’re very sorry.

"The root cause of the delays and cancellations we are facing on some lines is the major engineering work to electrify the Blackpool line, which overran and was not handed back in time for us to train our 400+ drivers who operate the routes around Blackpool.

"The knock-on effect is a temporary driver shortage, across many routes in the North West, as we continue to train our drivers, whilst trying to run a full service on all other routes at the same time.

"These temporary driver shortages are causing delays and cancellations across several routes and our planning teams are working hard with Network Rail to rectify these issues and minimise the disruption. We expect the situation to significantly improve with each passing week until we complete the driver training by mid-May.

"We appreciate this is a far from ideal situation which is causing some customers frustration and disruption, which we’re sorry for. We can assure you that we’re doing everything possible to get back to the good level of service you expect and deserve.”