TransPennine Express (TPE) has defended planned cuts to services this December, which it insists will be “temporary”.
David Spereall of the Local Democracy Reporting Service has more details:
The operator, which serves York, Malton, Thirsk, Selby and Northallerton is slashing the number of trains it runs on the route to Leeds and the North West in a bid to improve reliability, with the changes set to be in place for up to 12 months.
TPE is still set to introduce a new Manchester-Castleford-Sherburn-York service, but the frequency and times are to be confirmed
The firm was nationalised earlier this year over its poor performance and has seen passenger numbers fall by a quarter since 2019.
TPE’s business development director said that “challenging decisions” had to be made so it could work through the driver training backlog it blames for its punctuality issues.
A total of 66 carriages will also be removed from TPE’s fleet, including the 5 carriage loco hauled Nova trains that work on the Malton line.
Speaking at a West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) transport committee meeting, George Thomas said: “At the moment we’re at a lower (customer) base than we were before Covid.
“Getting that right is dependent on getting to a stable position, with a timetable customers can rely on.
“We definitely recognise that’s not something we’ve been providing to date.
“That means taking some challenging decisions around the rolling stock mix and challenging decisions around the timetable in the short term.”
The news comes as passenger satisfaction with trains has fallen to a five-year low, according to WYCA figures.
A WYCA report expressed concern about the removal of carriages in particular, which it suggested will lead to a lack of capacity and space on TPE trains at peak times, “especially on the York – Leeds – Huddersfield corridor”.
But Mr Thomas said he disputed WYCA’s description of the changes as an “emergency” timetable.
He added: “This isn’t a quick reaction to try to stabilise something. This is a carefully thought out plan to provide that training and give us a stable base, from which we can reintroduce service frequency.”