Harrogate rail operator apologises for poor performance on 'congested railways'

Harrogate trains are often late or cancelled and the service has been slow to improve - not the views of Harrogate passengers but Northern Rail’s own facts and figures.

Monday, 25th November 2019, 12:46 pm
Updated Monday, 25th November 2019, 12:46 pm
Harrogate railway station - Harrogate trains are often late or cancelled.

But train operator Northern Rail have hit back saying that they were putting on more trains than ever without the infrastructure which would support such a big increase.

As a result, they say "congested railways" have taken "its toll on punctuality."

Northern Rail’s most recent performance figures lay bare a story of failure on the daily commute from Harrogate to Leeds or York.

The official statistics for the period between October 13 to November 9 reveal less than half of services ran to time.

Only 45.4 per cent of its trains across the north arrived within a minute of their scheduled time with Harrogate passengers among those feeling the pain.

In fact, some individual trains on the busier routes, including Harrogate to Leeds, failed to arrive at all.

A Northern Rail spokesperson said: “We are sorry to any customer whose journey has been disrupted.

"Our customers deserve the best possible rail service and we are working hard, alongside our partners, to improve industry performance.

“We have delivered on our commitment to increase the number of train services – we now operate 2,000 more services each week than at the start of the franchise.

"This means we will deliver 30 per cent more “train miles” in 2019 than in 2016.

"By the end of the year almost 110 million journeys will have been made using Northern trains in 2019 – that’s a record for the North.

“And yet there has been no real increase in track capacity since 2016, which has led to more congested railways across the North.

"This congestion has taken its toll on punctuality. This year has also seen a number of extreme weather events – including unprecedented levels of flooding in September and November which have further impacted performance.

“Looking ahead, Northern is delivering a £600m investment in new and refurbished trains and better stations which will improve service reliability and provide a much better journey experience for customers. We have also recruited hundreds of customer-facing people to improve the service we offer.”