Whilst all the focus at the moment is on the failure to operate a service which resembles the published new timetable , with its large number of cancellations, part-cancellations and poor punctuality, there’s still a need to look beyond the day-to-day issues.
SMART’s objective remains a daytime service of two trains per hour, with additional services at peak times. Whilst that may be difficult to achieve before the Transpennine Route Upgrade (whatever that may contain) is carried out, that doesn’t mean that nothing can be done.
Transport for the North (TfN) have recognised the issues with the timetable at Slaithwaite, Marsden, Greenfield and Mossley, and it’s one of the things they are looking at with a view to making changes to provide us with a more coherent and more frequent service.
It’s identified in the agenda for the TfN Rail North Committee Meeting on 12th July. Item 6, appendix 1, workstream 2 refers.
Develop train service mitigations and improvements to ensure an improved service across all routes
As further mitigation for the ongoing disruption of rail services, TfN could seek improvements over and above those contracted through the Franchise Agreements. Several areas have been identified with the franchisees’ plans that create issues for connectivity and capacity:
• Preston to Manchester via Bolton (electrification due later in the year)
• Manchester to Leeds (issues with calling pattern at local stations)
• Warrington to Manchester (re-routing of TPE service from May 2018)
• Southport to Manchester (desire to revert to more services to Piccadilly)
TfN will assess the franchisees’ delivery plans and may wish to procure additional services or rolling stock. There is scope to utilise funds already secured through the franchise (such as innovation funds and other sources) subject to business case.
Who will lead?
TfN and DfT, working through the Rail North Partnership.
Improved connectivity and capacity.