The Mayor of Greater Manchester was late to a meeting on train cancellations because of a cancelled train.
Andy Burnham was on his way to lobby the Government to increase funding for two train operators in the north of England, TransPennine Express (TPE) and Northern, alongside Liverpool City Region mayor Steve Rotherham.
However, on their way to the meeting, the train they were intending on catching was cancelled.
This morning at 8:42am, Burnham tweeted a photo of himself and Steve Rotherham stood in front of a departures board with cancelled trains on it.
The photo was captioned: “Heading to Lime St with Steve Rotherham for a press briefing on train cancellations, but we’re going to be late as our train is cancelled.”
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This comes after delays and cancellations on rail services across the country, due to technical faults, staff shortages and strikes.
Bolton hasn’t been immune to these issues, with faults, shortages and strikes all having caused disruption to railway users in the town.
Speaking on railway travel issues, Mr Burnham said: “Enough is enough. Today, we are calling for immediate action from the Government to deliver a funding injection into the TransPennine Express and Northern contracts.
“Both have a long way to go to win back the trust of passengers in the North, but they will never do so if they are being hamstrung by the financial constraints imposed on them by Whitehall.
“Millions of passengers in the north need to know that the Government has their back when it comes to the delivery of reliable, functioning public transport.
“They need to ensure that operators have the financial and negotiating room to breathe in order to start fixing our broken system, including by supporting a resumption of rest day working.”
Steve Rotheram added: “This rail chaos is not only inflicting misery on people’s lives, its wreaking havoc on our local economies too.
“So, whenever government’s game of musical chairs is over, we want the Transport Secretary to take immediate action with an urgent injection of funds into both ailing Northern franchises and the failing Avanti.”
A TPE spokesperson said: “Prior to December 2021 TransPennine Express had posted its best ever performance results, and was subsequently recognised as ‘Train Operator of the Year’ at the Rail Business Awards.
“Since then, prolonged disruption affecting our services has been caused by a range of issues including ongoing high levels of train crew sickness, a persisting training backlog as a direct result of Covid, and infrastructure issues outside of TPE’s control.
“Combined, these factors have seen a number of on-the-day or ‘evening before’ cancellations being made.
“In normal circumstances, we have enough people to fully operate our scheduled timetable – and have more drivers now than ever before – however the combination of factors has put unprecedented pressure on our ability to effectively operate our services.
“Our customers want, and deserve, reliable and punctual train services, and we are sorry have not been able to consistently provide that due to the ongoing issues.
“TPE’s team continues to work flat-out to deliver higher levels of service delivery and to tackle the issues that are being experienced by customers.”
A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “Government has earmarked more than £16 billion of funding for passenger services since the start of the pandemic – equivalent to nearly £600 per household and around £160,000 for every rail worker.
“We are working closely with train operators to ensure disruption is kept to a minimum, long term solutions are put in place, and passengers can continue to travel while also recruiting and training significant numbers of new drivers at speed.”