Wigan rail travellers' anger at lack of Sunday trains

A Northern train
A Northern train

Rail travellers in Wigan have hit out at a train operator for having to cancel services on Sunday due to a shortage of drivers.

Northern has admitted its current contractual arrangements mean services on Sunday have to be prioritised.

But this has not got down well with people who regularly travel on Sundays, especially those who have to get to their jobs at weekends.

One furious commuter told how rail replacement bus services would have left him with a journey of around two hours each way via Preston to get to his job at Middlebrook in Horwich.

Steven Horrobin said: “This is affecting a lot of people. I don’t know until Sunday morning if the service is cancelled or not.

“The drivers are not contracted to work on Sundays so this is happening every other Sunday.

“They told me to get a rail replacement bus which stops at every station to Preston, then I would have to wait for a train. I work in a bowling alley and it opens at 10am on Sunday.

“I think they should change the contracts so they can have a proper service on Sundays, because a lot of people are working.”

Another commuter said services had been cancelled “most Sundays” and the new timetable introduction last weekend had not seen an improvement, with half the services axed.

He added: “One might have thought that Northern would give some priority to maintaining the reduced service, but apparently not.”

A Northern spokesman said: “A spokesman for Northern said: “The impact of ongoing engineering work means we have to adjust our Sunday timetable each and every week, creating short-term plans. This has an impact on matching employees’ availability within their working agreements.

“Routes have been chosen carefully to minimise the impact on customers. On each of the affected routes, our customers will have a range of alternative options available to them including other Northern services, trains run by other operators or rail replacement road transport.”