By Matt Taylor
Jonathan Reynolds, MP for Stalybridge and Mossley, has welcomed the news that rail passengers will be compensated following chaos caused by the introduction of a new timetable in May.
After the new changes came into force, rail users were left frustrated and angry as trains were delayed or cancelled on a regular basis, both locally and across the country.
Mr Reynolds shared on Facebook a letter sent to MPs from Jo Johnson, Minister of State for the Department for Transport, on June 29 announcing compensation will be paid.
Mr Reynolds wrote: “Good news! Our repeated calls for the government and rail companies to compensate season ticket holders for the shambolic service when the new timetable was introduced have finally been heard.”
The letter states: “The Secretary of State has assured the house that passengers who regularly travel on the worst affected routes will be properly compensated.
“Yesterday I attended the Transport for the North Board meeting in Manchester to discuss a special compensation package that will be funded by the rail industry.
“Transport for the North has agreed that the special compensation should cover weekly, monthly and annual season ticket holders on the worst affected routes who experienced severe disruption before and after the May timetable change.”
The decision comes in the wake of weeks of turmoil endured by rail users, even following the introduction of an emergency timetable on June 4 which is in place until July 29.
Andrew Holstead, secretary of the Friends of Mossley Station, monitored the Stalybridge to Manchester service weekdays from June 19 to June 25.
He discovered seven cancelled trains into Manchester and six services out of the city centre, and also found TPE trains from Hull were frequently being ended at Stalybridge if they were running late.
Mr Holstead said: “When trains terminate at Stalybridge as opposed to Manchester it often has a knock-on with Northern services as platforms are blocked.”
Jonathan Reynolds, MP for Stalybridge and Hyde, had previously called for passengers to be compensated and questioned whether Northern Rail should be running the franchise.
Mr Johnson’s letter continued: “Eligible passengers will receive a cash payment equivalent to up to one month’s travel. This will be in addition to the standard existing compensation to which passengers are entitled.
“Transport for the North has also that season ticket holders in other parts of the north badly affected since the introduction of the May timetable will be eligible to receive a cash payment equivalent to one week’s travel, in addition to standard existing compensation.
“Further details will be announced shortly, including exactly which routes and services are covered by this compensation scheme.
“There is still a long way to go until performance is good enough, and we are working closely with the Northern and Network rail, alongside Transport for the North, to ensure all steps are taken to ensure passengers see further improvement in the reliability of services over coming weeks.”