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  1. ITV Report

Network Rail boss Peter Hendy says 'maybe he should' lose his job over travel chaos

  • Video report by ITV News Political Correspondent Paul Brand

As frustration mounts over rail chaos on Northern and Govia Thameslink Railway, the chairman of Network Rail has admitted to ITV News that he should "maybe" face the sack over the disruption.

Network Rail's Sir Peter Hendy said his company was "sorry" for the ongoing troubles and was "working really hard".

But asked by ITV News if he thought he should lose his job, he said: "Maybe I should, maybe somebody should, but actually the important thing for the moment is to keep on trying to fix it."

Northern Rail was branded "Northern Fail" on Twitter by angry travellers on Monday, while Downing Street labelled the situation "totally unacceptable".

Chris Grayling told MPs the rail industry had "collectively failed" the public, although as transport secretary he too has faced criticism.

Mr Grayling has blamed government-owned Network Rail for delaying the approval of the new timetables Credit: PA

Commuters in the North have faced massive disruption following the introduction by Northern Rail of a thinned-out interim timetable that removes 164 trains - or six per cent of the services - for the next eight weeks.

Areas affected by the new timetable include Manchester, Liverpool, Blackpool and the Lakes Line between Oxenholme and Windermere.

Even then there were delays and cancellations, with one passenger pointing out there had already been 61 services cancelled by just after 8am on Monday morning.

Andy Burnham, the mayor of Manchester, called on commuters in the North to be given “substantial” compensation, telling BBC Radio 4's Today Programme that Northern was in the "last chance saloon".

Northern insists it will still run more trains than it did before last month’s timetable change, and expects to "get back to a full timetable service by the end of July".

Andy Burnham has called for travellers in the North to receive compensation Credit: PA

Elsewhere Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) - which consists of Southern, Thameslink, Great Northern and Gatwick Express - is also running a temporary timetable, supposedly enabling passengers to "arrange their journeys with greater confidence".

The timetable changes came in on May 20, but since then, hundreds of trains have been cancelled.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Grayling said: "As few as three weeks before the timetable was to be implemented, GTR themselves assured me personally that they were ready to implement the changes.

"Clearly this was wrong and it is totally unacceptable. The rail industry has collectively failed to deliver for the passengers it serves.

"It's right that the industry has apologised for the situation that we are currently in and that we learn the lessons for the future.

"But right now the focus should be on restoring reliability of their service to passengers."

Commuters in the North have faced massive disruption Credit: PA

Mr Grayling later faced calls to resign amid accusations he had been "asleep at the wheel" in dealing with rail disruptions.

Shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said that if Theresa May were "not so enfeebled" Mr Grayling would have been sacked.

"I'm aghast that Chris Grayling has been so far removed from this and seeks to blame all and sundry rather than accepting his responsibility," he said.

Mr Grayling has blamed government-owned Network Rail for delaying the approval of the new timetables amid late-running engineering projects.

But even before the new timetables, Northern services suffered frequent delays and cancellations.

Network Rail punctuality data shows that between April 29 and May 26, more than one in three (35%) trains on the operator's Lancashire and Cumbria routes were delayed by at least five minutes.

Northern's managing director David Brown has apologised for the "unacceptable service", and said his firm is working hard to fix the problems