Rail users voice discontent at provider Northern amid NRPS results

A sign notifying users that Northern will experience worker strikes on several dates in February.
Northern are set for RMT strikes throughout February (Credit: Oliver Portlock).

Lancashire’s rail users have been vocal in their dissatisfaction with provider Northern, after a National Rail Passengers Survey showed rail user satisfaction was at its lowest in a decade.

The survey, which asked 25,000 people, found Northern ranked among the worst providers for satisfaction at just 72%.

Derek Wells, a train enthusiast, said: “When the rail services are working it is brilliant.

“But there are too many times when they are late and they don’t appear, particularly with Northern, which is a disgrace.”

A sign at Preston Station listing the upcoming trains with most being replaced by buses and one to Liverpool Lime Street being cancelled.
A lot of rail routes have been replaced by buses (Credit: Oliver Portlock).

Describing their recent journey to Manchester, Karen and Angela said: “Well yesterday, it was diabolical going there.

“Everybody had to stand up and that’s a long way from Penrith to Manchester.”

Stephen Turner, a regular commuter using Northern, said: “I’m very dissatisfied.

“I live in a town called Littleborough outside Manchester and at the moment I can’t leave the town on Saturdays full stop.

“The line is completely cut off.”

Neil Swift, from Poulton-Le-Fylde, said: “Today, I’m trying to book a train to Liverpool Lime Street.

“At no point on the website does it tell me that there was a rail replacement bus from my home town, which means I have to change at Preston.

“The train that I am trying to catch to Liverpool Lime Street has now been cancelled and I am unsure how to get to my destination.”

A Northern rail train awaits departure at Preston station.
Northern train stands still at Preston Railway station (Credit: Oliver Portlock).

David Brown, Managing Director for Northern, said: “The results are disappointing but not surprising when we look at the challenges the rail industry, and in particular Northern, has faced in 2018.

“Delayed and overrunning engineering work across the North West, challenging autumn conditions, continued fallout caused by the May 2018 timetable and the ongoing RMT dispute were significant factors.

“These affected our ability to deliver the level of service customers expect and deserve and we are very sorry. “