No Sunday railway services at local stations after cancellations
Date published: 13 August 2019
Northern's Sunday timetable is being adjusted most weeks
Four local train stations are being left with no service on Sundays, despite hourly trains passing through without stopping, says a local rail campaign chairman.
Richard Greenwood, chairman of STORM (Support the Oldham Rochdale Manchester rail line), says Smithy Bridge, Castleton, Mills Hill and Moston stations are being left without a service on Sundays when Northern trains on the Blackburn to Southport via Todmorden route are cancelled.
He continued: “The Blackburn to Southport via Todmorden service is the only service which calls at Smithy Bridge, Castleton, Mills Hill and Moston on a Sunday so when this service is cancelled, these four stations have no trains - as is happening every Sunday once more.
“The trains continue to run Manchester to Southport and a bus is put on between Blackburn and Todmorden, but for these four Greater Manchester stations have nothing.
“The Manchester/Leeds Calder Valley trains continue to run, but pass through these stations non-stop. Every so often for an isolated Sunday, such as 4 August, these Calder Valley trains make additional calls at the four stations, but it never lasts.
“On Sunday 11 August, these four stations again watched the Calder Valley trains flying through non-stop leaving them without any service at all, not even a replacement bus service.
“Unfortunately for Greater Manchester residents, the overall control on the Calder Valley line rests with Northern Railway at Leeds.
“There is a good argument for saying that in allowing this scenario to happen so frequently Northern Railway are in breach of the conditions of their franchise. The number of passengers using these four stations is falling dramatically, because hardly a weekday goes by without the cancellation of one or more of their two trains an hour basic service at peak times.
“Reliability is at an all-time low.”
A spokesman for Northern said: “The impact of ongoing engineering work means we are still having to adjust our Sunday timetable most weeks – creating short term plans that may include cancellations.
“This has an effect on matching employees’ availability within their working agreements. Routes with cancelled Sunday service are chosen carefully to minimise the impact on customers.
“On each of the affected routes, our customers will have a range of alternative options available to them including other Northern services, trains run by other operators or rail replacement road transport.
“All routes with pre-planned cancellations are advertised via the Northern website each Friday.”
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