Why are Northern allowed to cancel Sunday Services seemingly at will?

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by Puffing Devil, 20 Apr 2019.

  1. fireftrm

    fireftrm Member

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    Engineering work timetables on Northern's website not news but there for certainly a week - all shown as bus replacements, maybe they were using an excuse but that's where they have the timetables
     
  2. fireftrm

    fireftrm Member

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  3. fireftrm

    fireftrm Member

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    Why is that unfortunate? Surely that should read 'fortunately employees cannot be forced to work on days they are not contracted to do so'
     
  4. Shaw S Hunter

    Shaw S Hunter Established Member

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    The point being made is that the DfT has little appetite for ensuring the reliable delivery of Sunday services if it means adding additional cost to the franchise. The passengers whose interests the DfT have genuine concerns for are those who use the railway to travel to/from work and largely use season tickets which provide the base revenue especially for franchises providing mostly local services. Revenue from weekend leisure travellers on Northern is bonus money but clearly not sufficient to make the issue of reliable Sunday operation any sort of priority given the significant changes to employee t's & c's needed to make it happen.
     
  5. Llanigraham

    Llanigraham On Moderation

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    Agreed on the employees side, but I was responding to the OP, and for him it is UNfortunate.
     
  6. Bovverboy

    Bovverboy Established Member

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    That is what is implied, but we know that XC/VT trains have operated, so the real reason is presumably staff shortage.

    Someone has stated elsewhere that the line has been open since early this morning, therefore same comment.

    Trains have been running all day between Clitheroe and Salford Central and the Northern website has not suggested there was ever any other intention.

    Bus replacement only between Preston and Wigan North Western - again, this is clear enough on the Northern website.

    It was clear on the website that stopping trains would be running between Manchester Oxford Road and Hunts Cross. Bus replacements between Hunts Cross and Liverpool Lime Street only.

    Well I'm afraid that your post wasn't frightfully accurate.
     
  7. nr758123

    nr758123 Member

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    I haven't the faintest idea why you should reply to my comment about Northern failing to provide the service they are contracted to provide with such a remark. I have not suggested that the government should force employees to work on days they are not contracted to do, nor would I ever make that suggestion.

    The failure is on Northern's part, not its employees.

    Northern should be fulfilling their franchise obligations, and on behalf of taxpayers and passengers the government should be holding them to account. I don't understand why expecting a company to meet its contractual obligations could be considered controversial.
     
  8. Mag_seven

    Mag_seven Established Member

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    In the real world yes but this is the parallel universe that is the railway!
     
  9. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    I suppose one potential explanatjon for the seemingly disparate causes of crew shortages and engineering works is this. When I went through Manchester earlier today, bearing in mind it wasn't even that early (perhaps 10am), there were still a number of possessions on a number of lines. Those mean that whilst it may still be possible to run some services, it won't necessarily be possible to run even a normal Sunday service due to capacity and platforming constraints. I saw, for example, that some of the lower numbered platforms in Piccadilly were inaccessible from the main WCML. So it honestly wouldn't surprise me if the causes of staff shortages and engineering works couldn't both be true.
     
  10. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    This is an excellent post and I think sums up the situation exactly. A few erratic leisure journeys on some weekends simply isn’t worth incurring significant extra costs for the industry.
     
  11. Starmill

    Starmill Events Co-ordinator

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    If so, cull the existing services that cannot be provided on current resources. Then you'll see how many people these 'erratic leisure journeys' represent.
     
  12. Starmill

    Starmill Events Co-ordinator

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    This is quite normal for Sunday morning. Lots of routes don't even have a service before 0900 - 1000.
     
  13. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    I’m not saying they’re not numerous, however it pales into insignificance compared to peak loads.

    Add in that weekends are a complete pain operationally. Engineering works, staff that don’t really want to work weekends, odd demand patterns influenced by variable factors like weather and events compared to the week when a given service normally loads similarly from one day/week to the next.

    Meanwhile, from a revenue point of view there will be some using their season ticket (so nil extra revenue), pretty much everyone else on an off-peak (thus discounted) ticket, and many seats taken up by children on child fares or in some cases not paying a fare at all.
     
  14. Bovverboy

    Bovverboy Established Member

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    Okay, today's not a Sunday, it's a Bank Holiday, but there's obvious similarities. First and third Chat Moss stoppers towards Liverpool already cancelled this morning. The intervening one (0600 ex Vic) doesn't call at Eccles or Patricroft, so there's potentially a two-hour wait for anyone wanting to board at either of those stations.
    At least there's consistency - both the cancelled journeys were cancelled because of a problem at the depot. Trouble is, they're worked from different depots!
     
  15. jamesst

    jamesst Member

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    Maybe the 'problem at the depot' was the train couldn't be moved because no crew turned up!!!
     
  16. nedchester

    nedchester Established Member

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    True, but about time the TOCs got Sunday in the working week. Otherwise BBQ Sunday’s like this will become more common.

    A factor may also be that I’m hearing a little bit of disquiet due to the drivers being offered a much high pay rise than other workers........
     
  17. Starmill

    Starmill Events Co-ordinator

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    Fine. As I say if you're so concerned about the financial viability of the existing services then why not simply withdraw them and see how you get on from a publicity perspective? That seems to be what you're advocating, anyway.
     
  18. Wolfie

    Wolfie Established Member

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    Dare to say that publicly and see the ****-storm that erupts, particularly in Westminster...
     
  19. Wolfie

    Wolfie Established Member

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    The railway is not operated for the convenience of TOCs and their staff. If they do not meet the franchise requirements they should be penalised hard and if necessary stripped.
     
  20. robbeech

    robbeech Established Member

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    I think this rather proves the point, staff shortages are the main culprit here and it's cleverly* listed as engineering works.

    *Where by there might be an issue for the first hour of the day, Northern have used engineering works as the excuse to not have a service all day whereas in reality, its a staff shortage. I'm not sure how many of these it applies to but this is how it reads to me for at least some.
     
  21. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    Many weekend rail services are sufficiently patchy and unreliable that they're already useless. My local rail service is one of them, I simply don't use it at weekends unless the cars are out of action for any reason, and this is on a rather busier railway than anything on Northern. The simple reality is no one cares sufficiently.

    Note how nearly every rail story in the media describes rail users as "commuters".
     
  22. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    Of course the DFT aren't going to say it in public, but that doesn't change reality. Joe and Sarah from Wetheral going for a Saturday's browsing at the MetroCentre simply doesn't feature high on DFT's priority list.
     
  23. underbank

    underbank Member

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    Classic chicken and egg. The railway network is geared towards commuters and rush hours. Leisure and tourism isn't prioritised and so gets a generally poor service, particularly the reduced services at weekends, evenings, etc. Because it's a poor service, relatively few people use it for leisure and tourism. Because few people use it for leisure and tourism, the commuters and rush hour travellers are prioritised. And so it goes on.
     
  24. GarethC

    GarethC Member

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    I'm sure it has been mentioned on here before that at one point some TOCs (with union support) were pushing for Sundays to go into the working week but the DfT refused as it would cost more than relying on overtime to fill the shifts. Lower costs mean lower subsidy or more premium payments to the DfT.

    If that is the case the DfT are not going to be putting pressure on the operators if they can't staff their Sunday services. Hence this will continue to be a problem every time we have a sunny weekend!

    Out of interest, can anybody share which TOCs have 7 day working for drivers and guards?
     
  25. 221129

    221129 Established Member

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    Whoever is running the franchise will have the same problems.
     
  26. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    And, of course, 7-day working isn't a complete panacea either, as people still have the option to go sick if the weather is nice and they fancy a few days with the family. Indeed, in some ways there's *less* incentive to work as there would be no lucrative RDW to lose out on.
     
    Last edited: 22 Apr 2019
  27. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    So strip the franchise, incidentally against a background of reducing numbers of bidders, and a new franchise takes over with exactly the same issues arising. Something like Northern is already very heavily subsidised, so who's going to pay for all the extra drivers, which will take the best part of 2 years to recruit and train? It's clearly not a massively politically salient issue, or we'd hear more about it.

    This is one of the paradoxes with Sundays having become increasingly more active for activities like shopping and leisure. Going back a few years, Saturday was the main such day, with a standard M-F service provided on most routes but without the peak hour service enhancements. Sundays meanwhile ran a much reduced skeleton service. Now it seems to be the case that we want to see a much more comprehensive Sunday service, but run on a shoestring. Add to this the same mentality we see at Christmas - "*I* don't want to work, but I expect the normal range of services to be available to me". Not an easy issue to resolve without involving substantial extra costs.

    And looking at things from a purely personal perspective, I don't really use Sunday rail services, so why should I subsidise them? How about a hefty supplement on Sunday fares to cover the costs?
     
    Last edited: 22 Apr 2019
  28. Matt_pool

    Matt_pool Member

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    What about all of the thousands of people who do work on Sundays, in retail, pubs and restaurants, office workers (especially call centres, now that customers demand a 24/7, 365 day a year service!), factory/warehouse workers etc etc etc....

    Or should we just go back to offices only being open 9am - 5pm Monday to Friday, shops only open 9am - 5pm Monday to Saturday, half day closing on Wednesdays, and no shops open on Sunday except newsagents for a few hours in the morning!?
     
  29. Bovverboy

    Bovverboy Established Member

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    All the evidence says that there were no engineering works taking place yesterday between Stockport and Stoke-on-Trent which potentially conflicted with any Northern services, and, from what I've read, there were none between Morecambe and Lancaster either. (In that instance, engineering works appear to have been scheduled to be completed well before the first Northern train was scheduled to run).

    Yet no Northern trains operated on either line, at all.
     
  30. Glenn1969

    Glenn1969 Member

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    Sunday staffing issue cancellations again maybe. It has been going on on NW Lines for yonks
     

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