Northern: Minister ‘should resign’ over rail ‘chaos’

Northern train.


Northern services operate across the North East and North West of England

The RMT has called for Transport Secretary Chris Grayling to “get out” after days of “carnage” on Northern rail since a new timetable came in.

The union’s general secretary Mick Cash said his members are facing public anger “without a shred of support” from Mr Grayling or Northern’s management.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham told the BBC he understands Northern will introduce an emergency timetable.

A spokesman for Northern said there will be “amended services” from Monday.

The company has cancelled 132 services so far today with all services on the Lakes Line between Oxenholme to Windermere affected.

Passengers have faced widespread cancellations and delays since a timetable change was introduced on 20 May.

Since 18 May, more than 2,000 Northern services have been aborted.

‘Dived for cover’

Prior to the introduction of the new timetable Mr Burnham called for an investigation into Northern’s performance because of frequent delays, “dangerous” overcrowding and cancellations.

Northern has previously said it suffered problems because of late running engineering works and having less time to prepare for the timetables, which meant drivers had not been able to complete specialist training for new routes.

Mr Burnham told BBC Breakfast: “We’re hearing rumours now that the solution is they’re going to introduce an emergency timetable from Monday where they will drastically reduce the number of services they’re running. That is just unacceptable.”

Mr Cash said it is “disgusting” that Mr Grayling and bosses of rail companies have “dived for cover” and not faced passengers.

“Not only is Chris Grayling incompetent and not fit to run a railway but he is a coward as well, leaving RMT members to take the flack for failed policies that are his responsibility.”

Both Northern and the Department for Transport have been asked for a response.