Rail bosses were hauled before the House of Common’s Transport Committee yesterday to explain the chaos and cancellations following the implementation of the new timetables last month.
Northern Rail boss David Brown told the committee of MP’s that the delays to projects to electrify the routes across the North of England were delayed, which meant they had sixteen weeks to plan the timetable instead of forty and four hundred and fifty drivers needed further training.
He did though accept that there “may be a criticism that we didn’t shout louder and earlier in the process”, but said that they did request that the timetable be rolled forward but it was declined.
Rob Warnes, Northern’s performance Director also laid the blame firmly at the feet of Network Rail adding that the delays on the electrification of the Bolton to Blackpool section tipped them over the edge.
Brown added trying to ‘squeeze’ the change in timetables into a few weeks was a bad idea,
”’It was only in the final run-in that we started to see the risks ratcheting up.”
Charles Horton, the chief executive of GTR, said in hindsight a nationwide timetable change should never again be attempted over such a short schedule.
Hearing evidence from representatives from both Northern Rail and Thameslink Govia, the other operator that suffered huge cancellations after the 18th May, the committee heard that the proportion of trains either cancelled or delayed by more than 30 minutes was 11 per centfor Northern.In the first week of June, Northern was then forced to implement an emergency timetable which reduced services by 6 per cent.