Public anger over ‘atrocious’ Northern Train delays and cancellations

Northern Train at Preston Train Station. Photo by Jack Thompson.

Rail commuters in Lancashire are angry over delayed Northern Train journeys with some even being cancelled at the last minute.

Northern Train, formerly Northern Rail, had been hit with numerous problems before being stripped of its franchise in March last year by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

Trains services that have been delayed and cancelled in the last few weeks, include services to and from Blackpool North, Colne, York and Hazel Grove.

William Bamber, 61, who frequently commutes to visit his grandchildren in Greater Manchester, said: “I think the service Northern Trains is offering is absolutely atrocious.

“How can any functioning train be delayed by five minutes, and then get cancelled at the drop of a hat without any real explanation being given. I mean it’s happened to me six times this past couple of months.”

Now under the Northern Trains Limited name, it is run by the Department for Transport’s ‘last resort’ holding company due to failings in meeting arrival and departing times.

Commuters at Manchester Piccadilly Station. Photo by Getty Images. 

Last year, one in 14 trains were cancelled by Northern in the first four weeks to January.  

Northern Trains figures show that arrival times have improved slightly since 2020.

According to Northern statistics, from September to October this year, 66% of trains arrived on time to stations, although this has decreased by 6% since July from 72%.

Northern Trains operates services in and around Preston, Liverpool, Greater Manchester, East and West Yorkshire, East Lancashire and Ormskirk.

Rachel Hollins, 34, commutes to work from Bolton to Ormskirk. She said: “I rely on these trains on a weekly basis to go and earn a living, and when they don’t arrive, I end up losing money, and times are hard enough as it is.

“I thought the trains were suffering due to the pandemic, but we’re nearly two years into it now and the service is still shocking.”

Operator DfT OLR Holdings and Northern were contacted for a response, but declined to comment.