I sent the following email to the CEO of Northern Rail this morning after over a month of frustrating commutes to work.

Hi Alex,

I’ve recently moved to Swinton in Manchester and I knew in advance that the area was serviced by Northern Rail so my expectations were lower than what I was used to on First Transpennine I wasn’t quite expecting it to be this bad. Here are the examples of things that have happened in the 1 and a half months since i moved:

  1. Average daily delay is 10-15 minutes. Mostly in a morning. Me and my partner have come to terms with the fact that the train just won’t be there at the time it says.
  2. Overcrowding, these are busy services I accept this at peak times but not being able to get on the train is not acceptable. One morning I saw a train guard get stuck in the doors as they were closing, it looked painful.
  3. No drivers. This confuses me, how can there be no driver for a train? Sure everyone is human and things go wrong but are there no spare drivers? My offer of driving it myself was turned down though, I suspect this was because I’m a developer.
  4. Train going down the wrong line… let me repeat that train… going… down… the… wrong… line! I didn’t know this was possible. Luckily there wasn’t a collision and we were just delayed.

This is over a small period of time. It’s frustrating beyond belief I want to get to work so I can do my job. If I create bad code then I’m responsible and have to act on it.

Will Northern Rail be improving the service? We need more reliable services, more trains to ease overcrowding and a better service overall.

Regards, Mike Bell