West Coast Main Line chaos continues as Transpennine Express announce cuts

Dozens of TransPennine Express trains are currently being cancelled at short notice each day. Credit: PA Images

Rail passengers on the West Coast Main Line face a further travel woes as another operator in an industrial dispute sets out emergency timetables.

TransPennine Express (TPE) said it will reduce the number of planned trains between North West England and Scotland by 23% from Monday 12 September.

The emergency timetables will affect routes connecting Manchester and Liverpool with Edinburgh and Glasgow, via Preston and Carlisle.

Passengers can expect a reduced number of services Credit: PA Images

Avanti West Coast, which also operates on the West Coast route, has run fewer than half of its normal services since 14 August.

Dozens of TPE trains are currently being cancelled at short notice each day, with at least 31 services not running on Tuesday 6 September.

The operator, owned by FirstGroup says disruption is being caused by “higher than normal sickness levels and ongoing industrial relations issues”.

Nine of 40 scheduled daily services will be axed, with a further eight only serving part of its planned route.

The new timetable comes into force on Monday 12 September Credit: PA Images

TPE says it expects the number of late notice cancellations to be “significantly reduced” under this timetable. Rail replacement buses will be used at certain times of the day.

Jerry Farquharson, TPE's service planning and performance director, said: “Our customers want reliable and punctual train services, and we are sorry that we have not been able to provide that due to the ongoing issues.

“This temporary amended timetable for our services between the North West of England and Scotland will help us provide more stability and certainty for customers travelling on this route."

TPE’s conductors who are members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union have been involved in a long-running dispute over pay.

The company’s train drivers who are in the Aslef union will join those from 11 other operators in striking on 15 September in a row about pay.

Andy Burnham criticised Avanti on the Today programme Credit: PA

Avanti West Coast blamed the need for its reduction in services on “unofficial strike action” by drivers.

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham told Radio 4 that Avanti was in its "last chance saloon."

Mr Burnham said: "What this reveals is that the reason given at the start of this reduced timetable is clearly not the true story.

"This company are in the last chance saloon because I cannot accept indefinite chaos on this railway line and the loss of those services."

The operator said it normally runs around 400 trains per week with drivers voluntarily working on their rest days – for extra pay – but that “dropped suddenly to fewer than 50”.

It announced on Friday that managing director Phil Whittingham will leave his role on 15 September.

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