Welcome to your regional stakeholder update
Chris Jackson, Regional Director:
“We are now approaching the important summer season where we hope to attract even more customers back to rail. Whilst passenger journeys are still below pre-pandemic levels, which is exacerbating the industry financial challenge; we have been encouraged by the buoyancy of our leisure market; whilst commuters growth remain sluggish.
“We hope that the Great British Rail Sale, with tickets from £1.50 across the Northern network, will drive further ridership which will translate into future regular customers. Our timetables from May 15 will remain broadly similar to those operating currently, with additional services to Blackpool South and South Cumbria introduced from July to support the visitor economy.
“Adlington and Blackrod will see calls resume off-peak, and the afternoon gap in the Hope Valley service will be plugged. The timetable will also bring additional resilience, and allow us to focus on the training backlog which has been building over the last two years. We recognise that industrial relations challenges have had an impact on performance in recent months, and we are working collaboratively with all trade unions to sustain customer growth which is so critical to our long term sustainability.
“Providing for events will be critical during this summer period and Northern has already been supporting one of the biggest events in the North West in the form of Aintree weekend which included the running of the annual Grand National race on the Saturday.
“We provided additional capacity and special trains on a number of routes; successfully operating 99% of our services into Ormskirk and Liverpool Lime Street. I would like to thank all Northern and industry colleagues for their support in delivering this.
“Sadly since the start of 2022, there has been an increase in vandalism and anti-social behaviour. A number of stations on our Cumbrian Coast route have been impacted, there was a serious injury to one of our train driver colleagues when a brick was thrown through his windscreen at Clifton. Only a few weeks later a log was thrown at one of our trains at Farnworth Tunnel which severely impacted services for our customers for a number of hours. We are working closely with the British Transport Police (BTP) regarding these and other incidents on our network and I would encourage anyone who sees suspicious activity to report this to the BTP by texting 61016 or by calling 0845 40 50 40.
“On a more positive note, we are continuing to make excellent progress with our Digital Trains Programme with the majority of our legacy trains now equipped with Wi-Fi, power at seat and digital media screens. The programme is due to complete by December of this year. We have also seen improvements at several locations including a refurbishment of the car park at Sellafield and a new façade including artwork at Blackpool North station ready to welcome the thousands of customers who will travel to the resort over the coming months.
“I would like to thank you for your continued support.”
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