Fresh rail misery in North as Prime Minister Theresa May expresses 'full confidence' in Transport Secretary Chris Grayling

Prime Minister Theresa May.  Picture Tony Johnson.
Prime Minister Theresa May. Picture Tony Johnson.

Rail passengers in the North were suffering more misery despite the reintroduction of services as Theresa May rebuffed growing calls to sack Transport Secretary Chris Grayling amid continuing chaos.

Rail chaos cost the North £38m according to George Osborne’s Northern Powerhouse Partnership

Angry commuters have been left once again bemoaning cancelled or late services in Yorkshire, Manchester, Merseyside and Lancashire despite Northern rail reintroducing 75 per cent of the routes it was forced to withdraw after a new timetable caused meltdown in early summer and sparked the One North campaign for more devolution of transport powers.

A total of 53 trains were fully or partially cancelled by 10am on Monday, according to the Northern Fail app, developed by one long-suffering commuter to document disruption on the network.

And the Trains.im website, which uses open rail data, reported 18 per cent of services on the TransPennine route were either cancelled or more than 30 minutes late.

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On south TransPennine routes, half of services were either late or cancelled and 40 per cent of services between Preston and Scotland were running late.

The Prime Minister "understands the anger and frustration" of rail passengers in the North and wants to see "further significant improvements" to "unacceptable" services, her official spokesman told a regular Westminster briefing.

But calls from Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham to sack Mr Grayling were rejected by the PM's spokesman, who said: “The Prime Minister has full confidence in the Transport Secretary.”

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It comes after a report from George Osborne's Northern Powerhouse Partnership (NPP) found that the North's economy took a £38m hit, according to the Department for Transport's own guidelines, after the botched introduction of new timetables caused chaos in May and June.

According to the report, delays and cancellations led to employees failing to get to work, missing out on job opportunities or losing their jobs, while parents were unable to put their children to bed and many businesses saw a drastic cut in productivity.

The NPP’s analysis shows that for Northern customers alone, 945,180 hours were lost between May 20 and June 30 at an average of 22,504 per day.

Former Chancellor Mr Osborne said the report showed more powers, including over spending, should be devolved to Transport for the North

Mr Burnham said the Prime Minister's intervention was needed as he claimed there were no signs of improvement in services despite repeated calls for action from Mr Grayling.

In a letter to Theresa May, he wrote that performance on Northern Rail services "continued to be poor" following Mr Grayling's statement in May that the issue was the number one priority for his department.

Asked if Mr Grayling should lose his job, Mr Burnham told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Yes, ultimately, because he's just not doing enough."