Rail operator Northern apologises for disruption after Pontefract and Knottingley passenger complaints

Rail operator Northern has apologised for cutting services in the Five Towns, but insists Covid cases have left it with no other option.

By David Spereall
Friday, 21st January 2022, 5:09 pm

Passengers have been left aggrieved after the company's Leeds-to-Knottingley service was heavily scaled back, with several daily trains pulled from the timetable because of a driver shortage.

Commuters in Pontefract, Featherstone, Streethouse and Knottingley are among the worst affected, with Northern putting no timescale on when the temporary measures might be reversed.

Only replacement bus services appear to be running from Pontefract Baghill.

Sign up to our daily Wakefield Express Today newsletter

Northern has had to scale back services around the Five Towns because of Covid-induced absence among drivers and crew.

Some passengers suggested this week that the Five Towns area has been singled out for particularly bad cuts, at the expense of other parts of the network.

Northern denies that is the case.

In a statement issued on Friday in response to the complaints, the company said: "Like any other business our colleagues can be affected by coronavirus, directly and indirectly, and this can impact the availability of our train crew on any given day.

"Whilst we do operate with additional staff it can sometimes be difficult to provide cover for every service.

"Therefore we have had to make the difficult decision to reduce service levels on some routes on our network.

"We have worked to minimise the impact of Covid and traincrew availability as much as possible but we are advising customers that there may be short notice alterations to services and they should check the details of their journey before they travel via http://nationalrail.co.uk/"We would like to apologise for any disruption that may occur as a result of the impact of coronavirus."

Local Democracy Reporting Service