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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
Paul Britton

TransPennine Express cancels almost 100 trains across entire network due to staff shortages

Under-fire train operator TransPennine Express reported almost 100 cancelled services across its entire network today, Thursday, with reports the situation is due to a shortage of drivers and crew. TPE reported 'cancellations to services on all routes', with passengers in Manchester facing another day of rail chaos as a result.

Network Rail, meanwhile, urged all commuters to check their journeys in advance, saying a Met Office weather warning for snow and ice remained in place. They said low temperatures can cause points to freeze, leading to slower trains, delays and cancellations.

TPE's cancelled services today - a non rail strike day - were affecting passengers at Manchester Piccadilly, Leeds, Liverpool Lime Street, York and Newcastle railways stations, as well as at Edinburgh Waverley, due to a shortage of train drivers, reported traffic and travel service INRIX.

The line through Manchester to Manchester Airport is also being hit, as both runways at Manchester Airport were closed due to snow.

National Rail Enquiries said on its website of TPE: "A shortage of train crew means fewer TransPennine Express services are able to run on some lines. Services may be cancelled, delayed or revised. Disruption is expected until the end of the day."

In total, TPE reported 93 full cancellations in place by 9am. Earlier, the figure was running at 101. On its website, the train operating company apologised to commuters. They said: "Due to a shortage of train crew fewer trains are able to run on some lines.

"Train services running across the whole First Transpennine Express network may be cancelled, delayed or revised. Disruption is expected until the end of the day.

"East Midlands Railway, London North Eastern Railway, Northern and ScotRail are conveying passengers via any reasonable route until further notice. Arrangements have been made for First TransPennine Express rail tickets to be accepted for these journeys.

"Other services are conveying passengers between York and Scarborough via Seamer and Malton in both directions until further notice. Arrangements have been made for First TransPennine Express rail tickets to be accepted for these journeys. Customers may use their tickets on Coastliner buses between York, Malton, Seamer and Scarborough

"Due to a shortage of train crew, services across the TransPennine Express network may be disrupted today. Customers are advised to leave plenty of time to make their journey and should check before travel."

Reports on Twitter, meanwhile, claimed all trains between Huddersfield and Leeds from 7.30am until 8.30am were cancelled today, with the company in response also blaming high levels of staff sickness.

The mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has already confirmed he will be asking for the company's 'contract to be terminated when it expires in May' unless there's a major reduction in cancellations by February, next month.

A spokesperson for TransPennine Express said in response: "We are committed to the communities we serve and want to assure our customers that we are doing all we can to deliver a train service they can rely on.

"Prolonged disruption to our services has been caused by a combination of very high levels of sickness and a training backlog following the pandemic, which have led to us needing to remove services from our timetable on a day-to-day basis through pre-planned cancellations.

"Our customers want, and deserve, reliable and punctual train services, and we are sorry we have not been able to consistently provide that due to the ongoing issues. TPE's team continues to work flat-out to deliver higher levels of service delivery and to tackle the issues that are being experienced by customers."


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