Train services across the country and particularly here in the North West have been in chaos over the last few weeks, on top of which comes the announcement that hundreds of services each week are to be removed from the new timetables while others will be using old rolling stock that cannot accommodate people in wheelchairs.
Late running and cancelled rail route electrification work seems to be part of the problem. Under the 2010 Coalition government there was significant rail investment, for example the restoration of the Todmorden Curve near Burnley or the Ordsall Chord cutting journey times between Manchester Victoria and Manchester Piccadilly.
Since 2015 that has all changed.
Lib Dem MP Tom Brake commented: “It’s high time the train companies were held to account for their legal duty to ensure every measure is taken to provide access for disabled passengers. Accessibility should never be an afterthought — it should be a priority.”
South Lakeland trains have been one of the highest profile problems in the new timetable – some days there are no services being run at all and replacement buses for all train connections on the Oxenholme line. Even before the new timetables came in, commuters who use the Lakes Line have been subjected to mass cancellations over recent months which has been especially problematic for students taking their GCSEs who use the train to get to school.
Local councillor Matt Severn observed a few days ago, “The situation on the Lakes Line has been nothing short of shambolic for the past few months, but yesterday was the final straw.