The Manchester train commuters left in tears because they are being ‘sacrificed’ by TransPennine Express
Passengers have described a ‘lottery’ system between stations in Tameside and central Manchester
[from the Manchester Evening News, 30 NOV 2018]
Commuters are being ‘left in tears’ amid delays and cancellations which have left them missing children’s bedtimes and at risk of losing their jobs.
Passengers using TransPennine Express services to travel between parts of Tameside and Manchester are complaining of continuing disruption.
Rail users have described a ‘lottery’ system between stations such as Mossley and Greenfield to Manchester Piccadilly, leaving some with no choice but to pay for taxis to get to work.
One commuter reported being so late home from work, she doesn’t get to see her children before they go to bed.
TransPennine Express say it’s difficult to add extra stops to their services because the rail network in central Manchester is ‘very congested’, but added that they are ‘making changes to our train plan from 9 December that will make our services more reliable’.
Andrew Holstead is a secretary of Friends of Mossley Station and commutes daily from Mossley to his job in Manchester City Centre.
The station is currently ranked fourth worst in the country by data from On Time Trains for overall performance and punctuality.
The commuter is petitioning to increase the number of trains serving local stations between Huddersfield and Manchester – including Mossley.
Currently, there is one service an hour.
Andrew believes the current timetable from TransPennine is not fit for purpose and is leaving short-distance commuters stranded on a daily basis.
Speaking to the M.E.N, Andrew said:
“Whenever things go wrong on the line between Manchester and Huddersfield, they sacrifice short distance customers.
“I have seen people who have been left in tears after facing severe disruption to get to and from work.
“People are having to get a taxi to get to work in the morning or risk losing their jobs and in the evening, people aren’t getting home in time to see their children.
“It’s just a lottery every day.”
Andrew says that many passengers have resulted to driving into Manchester and some are even looking to move out of the area due to the disruption to their lives.
Yesterday’s commute home was no exception with passengers left stranded at Manchester Piccadilly for more than two hours.
With the last Northern service running at 18.01, many commuters were left with a long wait after the 17.47 and 18.47 TransPennine trains from Manchester to Hull were cancelled.
Andrew says he asked TransPennine staff if a ‘stop-order’ could be placed on the 19.47 train from Manchester to Leeds – allowing it to make an unscheduled stop at Mossley.
His request was refused by staff who sited ‘operational reasons,’ leaving him and others stranded for more than two hours until the delayed 19.47 train arrived.
Despite a journey time of just 17 minutes between Manchester and Mossley, Andrew didn’t arrive home until 8.30pm. He arrived at Piccadilly shortly after 6pm.
“We understand that things go wrong but when they do go wrong, TransPennine aren’t doing enough to accommodate people,” he said.
“This is having a massive impact on people’s mental health.
“Yesterday, a woman told me that for the second time this week – she won’t get home in time to see her children before they go to bed.”
“It is not unreasonable to suggest that TransPennine will do their best to get us home – they are failing to do their job.”
Recent data from train time comparison site, On Time Trains ranked Mossley 2,614th out of 2,618 station in Britain over the last six months.
Only six per cent of trains were recorded as ‘on time’ and 24 per cent of trains were delayed by 10 minutes or more.
A spokesperson for TransPennine Express said:
“Due to a number of issues on the rail network yesterday evening, we unfortunately had to cancel these two services.
“This combined with a fatality elsewhere also led to significant disruption to customers journeys.
“We request additional stop orders when we can however, the railway network in central Manchester is very congested and this isn’t always possible.
“We are making changes to our train plan from 9 December that will make our services more reliable for customers that will address circumstances like this.”