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Passengers' patience has 'run out' on Northern Rail, says Andy Burnham

Greater Manchester mayor calls for inquiry into train privateer

ANDY BURNHAM called for an inquiry into train privateer Northern’s poorly run services today, saying that passengers’ patience has “run out.”

The Labour mayor of Greater Manchester said that, since the start of the year, he had been “bombarded” with complaints from locals, citing frequent delays, last-minute cancellations and unbearable overcrowding.

As a result, he has written to Transport for the North (TfN) demanding an official investigation.

As well as looking at Northern’s consistent failure to hit its targets for timely journeys, delays and cancelled services – including notching up double the number of expected cancellations in March — TfN chairman John Cridland has also been asked by Mr Burnham to assess whether Northern Rail has breached licensing laws in its operations.

The Greater Manchester mayor said: “How can it be right that Northern presides over a service on which dangerous overcrowding in rush hour is the norm to such an extent that we know passengers have been taken ill?

“What accountability exists for an operator so persistently failing in its duty to deliver a reliable, safe service?

“The time has come to increase pressure on Northern to start delivering for its customers.”

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said Mr Burnham’s intervention had made it clear that the train operator was in “total meltdown.”

A Northern spokesperson said the firm was in the “early stages of an ambitious transformation programme” and, “as with all major transformation projects, there have been challenges.”

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