The Office of Road and Rail (OOR) have published their report into the rail chaos caused by major timetable changes to Northern Rail, in May.

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR), chaired by Stephen Glaister, has set recommendations to improve the nations railways. Northern Rail services were some of the worst affected in the country with trains being delayed, cancelled and even too busy for some passengers to board.

If Northern Rail are found to be in breach of their licence obligations, ORR will consider the
appropriate next steps which may include formal enforcement action such as a financial

OOR and Inquiry Chariman Professor Stephen Glaister said:

“Passengers were let down by the rail industry on 20 May and the weeks that followed. We found systemic failures that needed to be resolved in order to reduce the possibility that passengers have to endure these conditions again. Our recommendations will now mean that in every project, impact on passengers will be a central consideration – as it should always be.

“More fundamental changes are needed in the longer term, which is the subject of the Williams Review. The ORR will contribute to that Review.”

Northern Rail failed to run 125 trains out of 2,510 planned services. Delay minutes increased from under 15,000 to 50,000. The report released today requires that Network rail publishes a plan by April 1st 2019 setting out how they will integrate new services into the timetable.

Salford Commuters are facing packed carriages daily, making their commute to work uncomfortable and frequently unreliable.

A spokesperson for Northern said: “We are truly sorry for the unacceptable disruption caused to our customers following the introduction of the new timetable back in May 2018.

“The ORR Report (September 2018) confirmed that the root cause of the timetable disruption was delays to engineering projects to improve the railway. Normally, train operators are given 40 weeks to plan the twice-yearly introduction of a new timetable. However, due to delayed engineering projects in North-West of England, Northern had to entirely re-write its May 2018 timetable in just 16 weeks.

“Customers holding season tickets are receiving compensation for the disruption they experienced under a special scheme – and there is a special scheme for regular travellers who did not hold season tickets during the period of disruption. DfT has also announced improvements to the Delay Repay compensation scheme.”

The report summary reads: ‘The full support that the Inquiry has received from participants
illustrates a strong consensus that the industry must make changes to ensure that the scale of
disruption seen in May 2018 and beyond is not repeated.’

The investigation is to continue in the new year, with system operators having until April 1st to set out plans for improvement.

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