Welcome to Liverpool Confidential
Reset Password
The Confidential websites will be undergoing routine updates. This may cause the sites to go offline. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience.

You are here: Liverpool ConfidentialNews & Comment.

Liverpool to Manchester rail hell

Passengers to form pressure group over appalling rail service on vital rail link

Published on February 12th 2008.

Liverpool to Manchester rail hell

Passengers on the rail line between Liverpool and Manchester are getting angry. Since the fastest service was taken over by East Midlands Trains, in November last year, there have been countless problems relating to over-crowding and lateness.

The booths ran out of tickets before I even got to them. I missed the train, along with around 20 other people.

Now passengers are planning to set up a pressure group to force and shame the company into bringing the service back to an acceptable standard. Confidential has been asked to highlight the problem and gather passengers' experiences for relaying to the company.

These are the issues:

  • During rush hour, the trains need at least four carriages (this still leaves people standing) and recently there have generally been two.
  • Due to a lack of carriages, many people are left at stations. On packed trains – not the safest of environments - people have even fainted.
  • Carriages have been cobbled together from different areas, on some trains the door software wasn’t compatible and engineers had to called to open them.
  • Because of the pressure on staff, rudeness has become the norm in their dealings with the paying public.
  • The standard Liverpool to Manchester 50 minute journey has been taking more than two hours.
  • Tickets prices have risen by up to 15% nationally.

Here are a couple of stories from our readers.

“The train situation...where do you start? It's been grim travelling on the Liverpool-Manchester line. Usually there are only two carriages, at least since they hiked the prices at the start of January. It should be obvious that two carriages aren't enough for the rush hour train connecting two major UK cities. I had a typical morning experience this week. Usually, the 7:39am from Warrington is pretty good. I got to the station with about ten minutes to spare and there were people queuing back from the ticket booths, six or seven deep, into the covered area in front of the main entrance. The booths ran out of tickets before I even got to them. I missed the train, along with around 20 other people, because there simply wasn't enough time for them to issue everyone a ticket.”
Joe Gartside

"I have a friend who works in an Arndale shop. A couple of Saturdays ago he got the 19:37 to Liverpool. It took two hours because every time the doors shut the brakes jammed. They had to have an engineer at every station and that slowed the journey to a crawl. Last night my train had two carriages again and it was rammed to the point of extreme discomfort."
John Jones

We asked East Midlands Trains for a response to the problems we outlined above. This was the response

“We are aware that the standard of service and level of comfort we have been providing for passengers on some services on this route has not been what we want to achieve. In December we took delivery of two additional two car train sets to strengthen our fleet. We utilise the fleet to best advantage on a daily basis but these are the services that we plan to operate as four cars: Sheffield to Liverpool 0737, 1442, 1542, 1742, Liverpool to Sheffield 0747, 0952, 1652, 1752 and 1952.

The Class 158 sets which are used on the route are due to be refurbished during the franchise and this will create additional seating capacity. The refurbishment providing these seats will start this year. This will deliver an increase in capacity on the route of over 10% on every service.

Receipts from fares on the route do not cover the cost of more trains, additional carriages are dependent on additional funding. We will now be looking at ways of working with stakeholders on our route to campaign for greater priority and increased rolling stock capacity and investment for our passengers. We apologise to passengers who have been inconvenienced but assure them we are doing everything possible to make improvements.”

Let’s hope the improvements are made sooner rather than later, although that last paragraph leaves a whole hangover of concern. The essential truth here is that Manchester and Liverpool require good rail links. The problems are making travel miserable for passengers and will eventually impact on the economy. East Midlands Trains have not fully answered the questions we put to them. Nor does the statement explain the sudden dramatic dip in the quality of the service since the company took over.

Let us know what you think of the service here. This story has already appeared on Manchester Confidential and the depth of feeling from readers was enormous. If you have anything further to add, we’ll forward your opinions to East Midlands Trains as part of a lovely Confidential package from both cities.

Like what you see? Enter your email to sign up for our newsletters which are chock-a-block with more great reviews, news, deals and savings.

24 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

PeterFebruary 8th 2008.

East Midland Trains is part of Stagecoach. The explanation here is abysmal. Didn't they do their homework before bidding for this franchise. I oppose the proposed congestion charge for Manchester and the extremely appalling service not only on this service from Liverpool to Manchester, but also on the other line through Eccles adds to my point that there is no credible public transport alternative to using my car. To ration carriages between trains when all should be at least 4 coaches long and 6 in peak times just demonstrates the stupid, blinkered mentality of those who run the Railways today.

General Major BounderFebruary 8th 2008.

What we need is a good war

AnonymousFebruary 8th 2008.

Two carriages AGAIN this morning left passengers crammed in like cattle. I nearly passed out. So if anyone wants to start a car share count me in. I'll start a group on Facebook.

GAIL OFebruary 8th 2008.

sunday concerts at men arena- there are no trains to bring you home so you have to drive whether you want to or not

What a messFebruary 8th 2008.

What a mess!

The Fat ControllerFebruary 8th 2008.

Toot toot!

Get Off at Edge HillFebruary 8th 2008.

It makes one yearn for the days when you bought your gas from the Gas Board, your electricity from the Electricity Board and all the trains were run by British Railways! At the time B.R. was the butt of endless jokes, we didn’t know how it could be so much worse under ‘train companies’ owned by carpet-bagging chancers put in charge because of the Conservative Party mantra of ‘customer choice’! I see no ‘choice’! It’s all crap! Of course, if you tell the young folk this they won’t believe you!

miss thetrainFebruary 8th 2008.

don't wish to be pedantic anonymous but central ran that train before east midland but accept yr point. the pompous little ****s at oxford rd (men in uniform etc.) who look down there odious little noses don't put you in the mode for the insults yet to follow, and then there's the toilette's...that a government of the left (yes i know) haven't raged and re nationalised this laughing, rather than rolling, stock says more about the REAL old labour than any disaster of the last decade

Graham BandageFebruary 8th 2008.

Grrr, trains!

Lord StreetFebruary 8th 2008.

The people responsible ought to be flayed alive.

AnonymousFebruary 8th 2008.

The service was great under trans penine express, but since January 2008 under East Midlands the service has been appauling (and more expensive). The 7.45 Norwich train that moves the majority of the Liverpool to Manchester commuters has been reduced to 2 carriages, resulting in full + standing from Lime street. This results in chaos with nobody able to board from Hunts Cross, Warrington Central, or Birchwood stations. The situation then turns to commedy genius as the tea trolley attempts to be forced down the centre isle to foist outrageously overpriced tea and coffee of the alreay overcharged passengers. The same situation is repeated on the return journey from Manchester Oxford Road. I often disembark from Lime Street feeling like a refuge rather than a passenger. To compound the issue I am then scrutinized by ignorant station staff ensuring that my ticket is legitimate making me feel like a criminal. Who would possibly want to steal from a rail company who provide such an outstanding service? Disgusting and outrageous.

AnonymousFebruary 8th 2008.

It's pisspoor. I love going to Manchester at the weekend (better Living Room than Liverpool! Only joking, by the way!) and the train back is not only too early, but chocker full the whole way. Why does it have to be like this in this day and age. the fares are high enough. Tell me who the pressure group is. I'll join it.

ArfaFebruary 8th 2008.

How sad that the Liverpool - Manchester line, which was the first passenger rail line in the world, is now being used to move over-crowded cattle trucks.

Liam Fogarty, amayorforliverpool.orgFebruary 8th 2008.

Time to think outside the box, people. Two of Europe's great provincial cities deserve better than this shoddy and inadequate service. It's no quicker now than it was in the Edwardian era, which is just ridiculous.It's time for councils, communities and business leaders along the Liverpool-Manchester axis to take matters into their own hands. They need to unite to campaign for a hi-speed MAGLEV connection like the one now linking Shanghai with its airport: 30km in 7 minutes ! Check out http://www.smtdc.com and be amazed. Bonds and/or share issues would finance the project. It'd be a winner, as long as the beancounters at the train operating companies aren't allowed anywhwere near it.Time to show some 19th century enterprise to create a 21st century connection.

Get Off at Edge HillFebruary 8th 2008.

Mr. Fogerty, we should have had that in the 1970s when Britain was eight years ahead of anyone else in linear induction ("mag-lev") motors. Alas the Government cut the money off and that was that. The elevated test track is still standing, rusting, somewhere. If we can't even have trams in the 21st century what hope have we for a monorail?

scouse690February 8th 2008.

The Manchester to Liverpool Lime Street is always late!! From Liverpool West Allerton (or South Parkway), to get into Lime St for the London Euston train, is always a joke. Every time it is 20 minutes late, and every time, I have to run to catch the Euston train. It doesn't matter what time of the morning it is. And it CRAWLS along. I did hear someone say last week "bloody hell, I could've walked it quicker"

AnonymousFebruary 8th 2008.

Yeah, but you seem to be a bit illiterate

AnonymousFebruary 8th 2008.

Descending from the train to platform 2 of Mossley Hill station is very dangerous for the elderly. The step down is far too high, we must hang from the carriage rail and stretch to the limit to land on one foot.

justjjFebruary 8th 2008.

For those who want to take action http://www.trainsardine.org is the place to do it. Show your support for fellow commuters/sardines and lets try to get this situation resolved.

AnonymousFebruary 8th 2008.

Hmm. Largely true but a few hysterical misnomers. I travel every day from Manchester to Liverpool at all hours and have done for 6 years. 6 years!! I think I deserve a medal. Readers need to be aware that there are two so-called 'fast' trains per hour, making 2 or 3 stops en-route, and then the slow, stinking, boneshakers that halt at approx. 12,383,948 parochial stations before crawling into Oxford Road. A lot of people are confusing the two. For me, the real issue is the lack of late trains. Liverpool is trying to drum up a bit of extra custom this year, and the night life is truly great and equally comparable to Manchester - yes, my home! - while not many people realise that there are more art spaces and 'happenings' on this side of the tracks than in Morrisey's back entry. I should know, it's my job. But can you travel between the two past 10 at night? Can you hell! Anything past 22.30 is almost always CANCELLED and I've had to sleep on a bench before now for daring to socialise in this city. Compare this to the Manchester - Leeds route, with regular, clean trains through to the early hours.

Alex DFebruary 8th 2008.

I work in Manchester and would not dream of taking the train in, simply because I haven't got that many hours in my life. It is ridiculous that the city is only 35 miles away and yet can take up to two hours on a train. It would not be so bad if I could sit and do some work on my laptop, but packed in like sardines, it is misery upon misery. So the car for me, I'm afraid, and I hate myself for it.

BRIANFebruary 8th 2008.

I have only used the Liverpoool Manchester run twice last year. It was a absolute disgrace, hot sweaty carriages, people standing in the toilet section and the platform staff, holding up the train well past it's departure date to cram more cattle on board.

Bond girlFebruary 8th 2008.

It is a complete nonsense that two cities as close to each other as this should be so badly served, especially when so many people are affected on a daily basis. It would take seconds to sort out and it is very frustrating.

BondFebruary 8th 2008.

I used to travel on the line in the 1940s! Choice of three routes, even in wartime. NEVER had to stand. 45 minutes was the norm.Howthis once great country has fallen.Mind you, steam WAS dirty!

To post this comment, you need to login.Please complete your login information.
Or you can login using Facebook.

Latest Rants


Remember your username is firstname.surname.last4digitsofemployeenumber@mysainsburys.co.uk…

 Read more

Once you log in you will be able to access information that is unique for your role Like any other…

 Read more

This online payslip process not only makes the payroll system comfortable, it also saves a lot of…

 Read more

Mycoles Logging In For The First Time -Registration If you are logging in for the first time. You…

 Read more

Explore The Site

© Mark Garner t/a Confidential Direct 2022

Privacy | Careers | Website by: Planet Code