Metro mayor Burnham calls for investigation into Northern’s performance

Northern Rail

Manchester’s metropolitan mayor has called for an investigation into the service being provided by Northern Rail.

Andy Burnham has claimed the rail operator is breaching its licence due to the unacceptably poor service. He added that the service is so poor it is causing misery for passengers across the region.

Mr Burnham says his office has been bombarded with complaints over the service which is provided by the biggest rail operator outside of London.

The Greater Manchester mayor has written to Transport for the North to highlight weeks of disruption including delays, cancellations and “dangerously overcrowded” trains.

He has also called on TfN chairman John Cridland to assess whether Northern Rail has breached its licence.

Mr Burnham highlighted two of the complaints he has received from rail users.

One read: “This morning’s train into Manchester is as ridiculous as ever. Doors keep jamming and if someone doesn’t pass out due to heat and overcrowding it will be a miracle! Please hold Northern to account.”

The second wrote: “On a daily basis we have to put up with the incompetence and frankly dangerous overcrowding on Northern Rail trains. When are you going to help us @MayorofGM? We deserve a public transport system that can do the basics!”

Mr Burnham said: “How can it be right that Northern presides over a service on which dangerous overcrowding in rush-hour is the norm, to such an extent that we know passengers have been taken ill?

“What accountability exists for an operator so persistently failing in its duty to deliver a reliable, safe service? The time has come to increase pressure on Northern to start delivering for its passengers.”

Northern Rail’s managing director David Brown has written to Mr Burnham apologise for the various problems.

He said: ”We are now making good progress training the 400-plus drivers, and encouragingly we’re seeing the delays and cancellations around Manchester easing.

”Disappointing customers is not something we’re happy with, and we’d like to assure you Northern is doing everything possible to get services back to an acceptable level.“