FRUSTRATED COMMUTERS challenged Northern Rail managers at a public meeting as they called for drastic changes to the ‘diabolical’ services from Greenfield train station.
Residents gathered for the Greenfield Rail Action Group (GRAG) meeting to put their concerns to Matthew Worman, Client and Stakeholder Manager for Northern Rail and Simon Brooks, station manager for Mossley and Greenfield.
Issues reported included frequent mechanical breakdowns of trains, lack of train crew, cancellations with no explanations, crammed carriages and lack of service information.
And rail users argued services have become significantly worse at Oldham’s last remaining train station since Northern Rail’s franchise was extended last March until February 2016.
Richard Knowles, a university lecturer on Transport Geography, said: “The last six months have been the worst I can ever remember and the services are diabolical.
“We want to see improvements quickly. We will be making representations to the Department for Transport and if things stay how they are then we will tell them Northern Rail are terrible.”
One angry commuter added: “I get the 7am train but four times out of five in a week it is late going into Manchester and three times out of four times coming home.
“When people on the train are shouting ‘can someone move into the toilet so we can get more people onto the train’, then there is something wrong and that is a disgrace.”
And a frustrated gentleman said: “I have been waiting at the station sometimes and then the train details just disappear off the board with no explanation. It is a joke, not a service.”
Mark Ashmore, chair of GRAG, added: “We are suffering. Cancellations should not happen when we only get one train an hour anyway – that leaves us with a two-hour gap.”
In response to calls to report back on actions taken to help solve the issues, Mr Worman said: “We will take all the questions back to the train planners and see what can be done.
“We have trains that are 20-25 years old so breakdowns are going to happen unfortunately. There are not enough trains on our network and that is a fact.
“We have had shortages in staff, significantly at Victoria, but a lot of that was during the summer months when people were taking annual leave.”
Mr Brooks added: “There is no reason why we cannot report back to you before Christmas after a discussion on what we can or cannot do.”
Rail users can submit their experiences to GRAG secretary Royce Franklin, preferably by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01457 873248.
The group needs as much information as possible, including time, date, station punctuality and whether any explanation was given for the lateness.
You can also send comments and feedback directly to Northern Rail by visiting www.northernrail.org/comments