A fed-up commuter continually let down by Northern Rail has created a mobile phone app called ‘Northern Fail’ detailing the under-fire operator’s cancellations.
Downing Street today branded Northern Rail’s services ‘totally unacceptable’ after 270 services were cancelled in one day on Friday, leaving thousands of people stranded.
The Northern Fail app already has a 4.7-star rating from Google Play because so many people share Nick Mitchell’s frustration every time a train is cancelled. It charts when a train has been cancelled, a route partially suspended, or a station closed.
Software engineer Nick, who commutes from Urmston to Manchester, said: ‘I’ve been complaining about the service, but it didn’t feel like anything was being done about it. ‘They’ve also blocked me on Twitter. That motivated me a little bit.’
He added: ‘I thought I’d build it to put an emphasis on the cancellations that seem to have taken off a little bit.
‘The trains are constantly cancelled. You feel powerless. I wanted to use my skill set to help emphasise the problem.’
On 6 June, Northern Rail launched an interim timetable which had 6% fewer services – meaning 165 daily trains have been removed – which they expect will be in place until the end of July.
A spokesperson for Northern said: ‘This interim timetable will enable Northern to start to stabilise service levels over the next the few weeks and, importantly, start to reduce the number of last-minute train cancellations.’
‘In the short-term we will be running fewer services, but still more than we did before the May timetable change. We will then get back to a full timetable service by the end of July.’ Areas affected include Manchester, Liverpool, Blackpool and the Lakes Line between Oxenholme and Windermere.
Many customers who pay for a season ticket for all train services say they have been left feeling short changed. Mayor of Manchester Andy Burnham demanded Northern Rail compensate customers for axed services.