BBC reporting on Northern Rail's Preston to Ormskirk line

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shakey1961

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Hi. I saw a report on the national news about Northern's cancellation of over 2000 services and particularly the Ormskirk to Preston line.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-46653324
Is the Ormskirk to Preston line the worst railway in the UK?

Since the timetable changes in May, more than 2,000 services have been cancelled between the two destinations in north west England, a figure that rises every day.

In exclusive data analysed for the BBC, 5,712 trains were timetabled to run during the six-and-a-half-month period.

But up until Saturday 15 December, only 3,701 operated. That meant a third of services simply vanished.

The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, says the route operator, Northern, should now be put on final warning.

Those living and depending on the route have had enough.

Students missed end-of-year exams because the hourly train didn't arrive. Elderly people continue to miss important hospital appointments. Some are in trouble at work.

The personal toll is huge and people in this corner of the North West feel no-one really cares about them,..
On TV they showed a pacer with the destination board of Blackpool South, and inside they showed the display also as Blackpool South. Would Northern keep the board as Blackpool South when on Preston to Ormskirk?

However, the best just happened on the midnight news on BBC Radio 5 Live. Newsreader said the problems were worst on the line between Ormskirk in West Lancashire and Preston in Greater Manchester!!!

When did they move Preston? I mean... Lancashire council head offices are over the road from Preston Station!!!

I shall be emailing the BBC in the morning with a suggestion that they look at an up-to-date atlas or ask Google!!

How stupid can you get?

Oooo just noticed, I've been a member for exactly 4 years!! Joined 21 Dec 2014!
 
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neilm

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Hi. I saw a report on the national news about Northern's cancellation of over 2000 services and particularly the Ormskirk to Preston line.

On TV they showed a pacer with the destination board of Blackpool South, and inside they showed the display also as Blackpool South. Would Northern keep the board as Blackpool South when on Preston to Ormskirk?

However, the best just happened on the midnight news on BBC Radio 5 Live. Newsreader said the problems were worst on the line between Ormskirk in West Lancashire and Preston in Greater Manchester!!!

When did they move Preston? I mean... Lancashire council head offices are over the road from Preston Station!!!

I shall be emailing the BBC in the morning with a suggestion that they look at an up-to-date atlas or ask Google!!

How stupid can you get?

Oooo just noticed, I've been a member for exactly 4 years!! Joined 21 Dec 2014!
That's just stock images, the facts remain the same that northern have failed over the last 6 months.
 

Edgeley

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The important thing is that they featured the inconvenience which passengers on this line have been experiencing. The geographical slip-up is fairly inconsequential.
 

Matt_pool

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Narom

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Makes you wonder if that's the reason they needed to recruit 2 new signallers for that line this year.
 

shakey1961

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Matt_pool - It is that story, but whoever wrote the script for the newsreader on BBC Radio 5 Live at midnight said Preston was in Greater Manchester. I know their studios are in Salford, but there's more to the UK than London, Birmingham, Manchester and the other cities.

There was also a programme where Len Goodman took celebrities back to their favourite places. He brought Arlene Phillips back to Southport. Talked about meeting her on a train from Manchester, but they showed a Merseyrail service from Hunts Cross arriving at Southport.

I wish they'd ask people and get things correct.
 

Greenback

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I saw the report and was intrigued by the Blackpool South references. The reporting of these kinds of issues are not fantastic across the media in general, but as has been said it doesn't deflect from the fact that Northern are just not good enough at what they are supposed to be doing.
 

yorksrob

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Incidental errors aside, I'm glad that the problems of the Northern railway are making the National news. As I've mentioned on previous threads, I'd like to see some in-depth analysis of the overall problems affecting rail in the area. Perhaps a Panorama or something of the like.
 

shakey1961

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Northern have got to be the worst rail franchise in the country. If it was in the south, the government would have had them back in public ownership by now. In the words of Ed Milliband to David Cameron at PMQs "Is there anything the prime minister could organise in a brewery?"
 

Ken H

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Northern have got to be the worst rail franchise in the country. If it was in the south, the government would have had them back in public ownership by now. In the words of Ed Milliband to David Cameron at PMQs "Is there anything the prime minister could organise in a brewery?"
werent Connex SE seriously rubbish, bit they never got booted.

In fact has any franchise ever been ended because of poor performance?
 

yorksrob

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werent Connex SE seriously rubbish, bit they never got booted.

In fact has any franchise ever been ended because of poor performance?

Connex was seriousley ropey (the state they allowed some of their trains to get into being a case in point), but I don't recall hearing about them having the same level of disruption. I don't think they had whole lines going for days and days without any trains at all.
 

Ianno87

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On TV they showed a pacer with the destination board of Blackpool South, and inside they showed the display also as Blackpool South. Would Northern keep the board as Blackpool South when on Preston to Ormskirk?

At Preston, the train from Ormskirk terminates and restarts as a Preston-Blackpool South service, but when I was on the line in the summer, noticed that the crews displayed Blackpool South on the front throughout (to save changing it at Preston in a short dwell time)
 

LNW-GW Joint

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Was this what you saw:
"Ormskirk Preston line: worst rail service in UK?
A third of train services running on a line between two towns in the north west of England have been cancelled since May.
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham says Northern Rail should be stripped of its franchise, unless it improves."
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-46655523/ormskirk-preston-line-worst-rail-service-in-uk

I expect the BBC got confused by Andy Burnham (GM Mayor) popping up as usual to demand Northern lose the franchise.
He seems to be the self-appointed transport spokesman for "the North" (he's on the TfN board).
As a Labour minister he did nothing for the north's rail problems during the "no growth" phase.
In his TfN capacity he also has some responsibility for the current franchise decisions and service specification.
But it's quite right to call Northern out for the bad deal it has given Ormskirk-Preston (previously it was Oxenholme-Windermere before the MP shouted foul).
 
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bionic

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Northern have got to be the worst rail franchise in the country. If it was in the south, the government would have had them back in public ownership by now.

GTR (Thameslink, Southern, Great Northern) have been absolutely abismal, and they have had their franchise extended!
 

Bletchleyite

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At Preston, the train from Ormskirk terminates and restarts as a Preston-Blackpool South service, but when I was on the line in the summer, noticed that the crews displayed Blackpool South on the front throughout (to save changing it at Preston in a short dwell time)

To avoid problems with the journey planners not showing it as a connection they should timetable it as a through service in my view. I know a unidirectional service is a bit confusing but better than thinking you have to wait at Preston for an hour.

The only significant errors I noted in the report were describing Preston and Ormskirk as "large towns". Ormskirk is a relatively small town, while Preston is a city.

That said, I was surprised it made national news for what was basically a "North West Tonight" style report. I guess the OPSTA guy carries heavy influence, as was said here before!
 

Ken H

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And GTR's woes were purely industrial-action-related - the timetable itself wasn't faulty. Northern's issues run much deeper, and a mere end to the dispute wouldn't solve them.
I feel a bit sorry for Northern. They got bounced into the DOO dispute by the DfT as a franchise commitment. And the failure of Network Rail to deliver electrification on time, and NR's failure to have a timetable for May 2018 at T-12 cause a lot of resource problems for Northern, problems they had to try and sort in 2 weeks.

Why Northern didnt do due diligence on the DOO issue before agreeing it is beyond me. Now they cant deliver DOO, and their costs are higher than forecast, so they probably will not get enough subsidy.
 

GoneSouth

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At Preston, the train from Ormskirk terminates and restarts as a Preston-Blackpool South service, but when I was on the line in the summer, noticed that the crews displayed Blackpool South on the front throughout (to save changing it at Preston in a short dwell time)

Now this maybe a numpty questions but if the train terminates at Preston, has only a short dwell, resarts as a Preston-Blackpool South service, the train crew set the destination board to Blackpool South knowing that is where the train will end up, then why isn't it just published as an Ormskirk to Blackpool South service? Am I missing something?
 

aformeruser

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However, the best just happened on the midnight news on BBC Radio 5 Live. Newsreader said the problems were worst on the line between Ormskirk in West Lancashire and Preston in Greater Manchester!!!

Did you happen to get the name of the newsreader? Most of the Radio 5 staff work at MediaCity.
 

aformeruser

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Why Northern didnt do due diligence on the DOO issue before agreeing it is beyond me. Now they cant deliver DOO, and their costs are higher than forecast, so they probably will not get enough subsidy.

The bidders did. DfT suggested a London commuter DOO style approach during the consultation process and the shortlisted bidders objected saying a) that wouldn't work on the Northern network due to ticket checks/barriers at most stations not being a viable option and b) due to how much industrial action it would likely cause. DfT compromised by specifying DCO and saying that the winning bidder won't lose out financially if implementing DCO caused industrial action.
 

aformeruser

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Now this maybe a numpty questions but if the train terminates at Preston, has only a short dwell, resarts as a Preston-Blackpool South service, the train crew set the destination board to Blackpool South knowing that is where the train will end up, then why isn't it just published as an Ormskirk to Blackpool South service? Am I missing something?

The way it is currently does allow them to do a unit swap at Preston without having a part cancellation or having to compensate passengers through Delay Repay (due to it not being an official connection.)
 

bionic

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And GTR's woes were purely industrial-action-related - the timetable itself wasn't faulty. Northern's issues run much deeper, and a mere end to the dispute wouldn't solve them.

The Thameslink May 2018 timetable debacle was nothing to do with industrial action and everything to do with them not recruiting and training enough drivers for the timetable they advertised.

The industrial action you are thinking of was on the Southern side only, away from Metro areas, there were cases of trains not running on Metro routes to locations like Birkbeck for weeks on end!
https://www.londonreconnections.com/2017/birkbeck-recently-londons-least-used-railway-station/

There are threads on here describing in great detail how passengers have suffered at the hands of the Thameslink May 2018 timetable.

I'm not saying it was worse than Northern. I'm sure it wasn't, but it was a complete shambles and they still got their franchise extended. Which takes me back to my original counter-point that if Northern was in the south it wouldnt necessarily have been taken into public ownership... just like Thameslink hasn't been.

Let's be honest, it looks a lot better for the DFT if it's perceived to be a TOC forcing through DOO and provoking staff to strike rather than the DFT itself.
 
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