Huddersfield commuters faced train delays that topped more than two and a half hours this morning (Monday), MP Barry Sheerman says.
On the second day of the new timetables being introduced passengers had to deal with cancelled trains and delays on many services.
Northern Rail said a shortage of train drivers was to blame for problems affecting destinations such as Manchester, which go via Huddersfield, and Liverpool and Newcastle.
On social media Northern said that the May timetable change is a “significant operational challenge”.
But Barry Sheerman, Huddersfield Labour, said it wasn’t good enough.
He said that during the two hours of morning rush hour 84% of the services were running late and 10% were cancelled.
He told the Examiner he’d written to Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Transport, about the “shocking” morning on the trains.
During the two hours of rush hour, commuters at #Huddersfield station faced over 2.5hrs of delays. 84% of services were late, 10% were cancelled. Absolutely dire service! I have written to Secretary of State for Transport on behalf of my constituents. @examiner @yorkshirepost pic.twitter.com/cUaXzL7m4f— Barry Sheerman (@BarrySheerman) May 21, 2018
He’s also waiting to hear if there will be urgent questions in the House of Commons so he can put pressure on the minister and press for answers.
He said: “It’s a national muck-up, but the feed-back I’ve been getting from constituents all morning is of an utter shambles.
“People need to rely on public transport, the train companies have had a long time to sort this out. What a shocking day it’s been.”
In his letter to Mr Grayling the MP highlighted the issues commuters faced today, the loss of “vital links Huddersfield passengers would now experience, such as that from the town to Wakefield Westgate” and how much harder it was for train passengers to get into Manchester.
He added his voice to those already raised in the Colne Valley about the changes at Marsden and Slaithwaite stations, and added: “People’s voices are being overlooked” and that the changes were not “in the best interests of rail users”.
On Twitter Ollie Wright told the Examiner the TransPennine Express train from Marsden to Manchester was cancelled at Stalybridge, with passengers told it was going back to Leeds so it could be on time.
He said customers were being “treated with contempt”.
One in seven (14%) Northern Rail services were cancelled on Monday morning, with a further 17% delayed by at least five minutes.
A spokesman for Northern said: “It has been a difficult morning for some of our customers. We are working hard to address the issues we faced this morning and are developing plans to help our customers get where they need to be this evening and for the rest of the week.
“The May 2018 timetable change, which went live today for commuters, has seen around 90% of our services change and an extra 1,300 train services a week introduced across our network, the biggest change to local rail for many years. This remains a significant operational challenge and we continue to expect some localised service disruption, which could happen at very short-notice.”
The May 2018 timetable change involved changing the times of about 90% of Northern's 2,600 daily services, in many cases to make room for changes to longer-distance train services.
A spokesperson for TransPennine Express said: “Yesterday (Sunday) marked a large-scale, transformational timetable change across the country which has been tested with the commuter peak this morning.
“The timetable has seen us increase our services by 20% across our network... Unfortunately, there have been some cancellations and delays to our trans-Pennine services, which have been due to operational issues with another train operator. We apologise to our customers who have had their journeys disrupted this morning, and anybody who has been delayed by more than 30 minutes should claim compensation by visiting www.tpexpress.co.uk/delayrepay .”
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has called for an official investigation into Northern Rail after being bombarded with complaints about its service from passengers since the start of the year which include frequent delays, last-minute cancellations and overcrowded on-board conditions.