Northern have re-instated their hourly weekday service at Cramlington and Morpeth as from today, with the exception of one missing train (in each direction) which is the northbound service from Newcastle at circa 15:59 and southbound service returning from Morpeth at circa 16:55. This train is not in the timetable and is not currently running, leaving a 2-hour gap in both directions just before the evening peak.
SENRUG has been frantically lobbying Northern about this missing train, which we think is unacceptable and hardly counts as “Build Back Better”. Northern tell us its absence is only temporary and it will be re-instated as soon as possible, and is caused by a shortage of rolling stock whilst their new CAF trains used elsewhere on the network are withdrawn on a rolling basis for urgent safety checks, resulting in some Newcastle based train units being moved to other regions to cover the gaps.
But surprisingly Northern cannot so far tell us how long it will take to complete the rolling programme of safety checks, or how long it will then take to re-instate the path with Network Rail. SENRUG thinks Northern should have nevertheless bid for the path from Network Rail, so the service can be re-instated very quickly once stock becomes available, and to stop another operator taking the path in the meantime.
Income tax was of course introduced as a temporary measure to cover the cost of the Napoleonic Wars. 220 years later, and with the wars long finished, income tax somehow still remains with us. So we are nervous of Northern’s assertion this is just a short term problem, especially as they can’t put an end date on the rolling programme of safety checks, but we are hoping for a further update from them very soon.