Passenger fury as commuter service repeatedly cancelled

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An early morning commuter service which calls at five stations in the Wakefield district has been cancelled repeatedly during the past week, as chaos on the railways continues.

Passenger representative Dave Young, who boards the 6.57am Doncaster to Leeds service at Sandal and Agbrigg, said the train had failed to appear on three days out of the last six.

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The north’s railway network has been besieged by delays and cancellations since May 20, when a new timetable was introduced.

Operator Northern reverted to an emergency timetable to  address the problems a fortnight after they began.

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But the problems have continued according to Mr Young who uses the Doncaster to Leeds service, which also calls at South Elmsall, Fitzwilliam, Wakefield Westgate and Outwood.

Mr Young, who scrutinises public transport on the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s (WYCA) Wakefield committee, said that the situation was a “disaster” for passengers.

He said: “Today (Monday) and in the last week the 07:22am service from Sandal and Agbrigg has been cancelled three times.

“The earlier train at 07:08am is a two carriage train which is means standing room only for most passengers boarding at Sandal.

“The issue being announced is that trains are cancelled needing repair.

“My view is that this is a sign that trains are breaking down because they are not being repaired, because Northern are being forced to overuse their trains to run an unrealistic timetable.

“I think there’s likely to be more pain for customers ahead.”

On Friday, Transport for the North defended its role in the crisis, insisting that they had no powers to stop the new timetable being implemented. They also said they had no indication from Northern that there would be problems until May 20.

But Wakefield council leader Peter Box called the chaos “avoidable” and a “disaster”.

At a WYCA transport meeting on Friday, Coun Box called for assurances to be given to the public that the chaos would not be repeated, adding, “I don’t accept for a single second that Northern did their best”.

In response to several tweets from annoyed passengers about the 6:57 service on Monday, Northern confirmed that the issue was due to the train breaking down.

They could not be reached for further comment.