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Track of all our tears

We’re emailing the Transport Minister about the sorry state of the Liverpool to Manchester rail service and we want you to join in.

Published on November 14th 2008.

Track of all our tears

Train. Pain. Insane.

That’s the new North West rhyming slang.

It’s something we want to bother Geoff Hoon, the Secretary of State for Transport, about. And we want you to help.

We put this article up in February this year – click here – about the appalling level of service by East Midlands Trains on the Liverpool to Manchester line.

You responded with lots of your own experiences and suggestions. East Midlands Trains said they understood and they apologised "to passengers who have been inconvenienced but assure them we are doing everything possible to make improvements".

Months have passed. Spring has chugged through summer, the leaves have slid off the trees onto the track and winter is upon us again.

And still the bloody Liverpool to Manchester service is a mess, a disgrace to the North West, a brake on the economy and a daily nightmare for commuters and travellers. Indeed since the service was taken over by East Midlands Trains a year ago, it has become a byword for chronic overcrowding and endless delays and cancellations.

These are some of the issues Confidential readers want tackling:

• During rush hour, the trains need at least four carriages (this still leaves people standing). There are only ever two.

• Due to a lack of carriages, many people are left at stations. On the packed trains people frequently faint: it’s a health and safety disaster.

• Carriages have been cobbled together from different areas, on some trains the door software has proved incompatible with other systems and engineers have had to be called to open them.

• Because of the pressure on staff, rudeness has become the norm in their dealings with the paying public.

• Tickets prices have risen to over £12 for a day return but the standards have plummeted and commuters would like something back in return.

• Trains are frequently cancelled

• Trains are frequently delayed due to the tiny number of carriages and have even been forced to remain at Warrington Central until people get off due to over crowding.

So this is what we want to do. We want every single person who is fed up of the East Midlands Trains service on the Liverpool to Manchester line to fill in the form below.

We’ve made it as easy as possible for you, so it will only take a moment to have your say.

The email will go to Geoff Hoon, the Secretary of State for Transport, plus East Midlands Trains representatives and local MPs.

Make your voice heard. Send your message now, and maybe, just maybe, we’ll make a difference.

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

Christine RuthNovember 11th 2008.

John Prescott the then Labour spokesman on Transport came on a programme I produced for Granada's UpFront in the early 1990s and said improving the trans-Pennine rail link between Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and beyond would be one of Labour's priorities. He thought the line should be one of the fastest in the country linking the big northern cities. Well, in power they've done nothing to improve the appalling Transpennine rail links and it's an absolute disgrace. The journey from Liverpool to Manchester usually takes longer than it did a hundred years ago. What marvellous progress! I'm more than happy to support your campaign to get something done.

AnonymousNovember 11th 2008.

Every week day I have the unfortunate experience of having to get the 17.01 train from Manchester Victoria to Liverpool, this too is packed every single day and not a week has gone by in the last 6 months were i haven't experienced a delay at some point, it really is beyond a joke!

AnonymousNovember 11th 2008.

Longer than that.

POLONovember 11th 2008.

Why would anyone WANT to go to Manchester?

BeatlesGuruNovember 11th 2008.

What I find most annoying is that when I started visiting Liverpool (birthplace of the Beatles) fourteen years ago, and several Beatle Weeks since then, I could get a train from Basingstoke to Liverpool (which started from Poole or Bournemouth) without changing. Although it meant waiting at Reading for fifteen minutes whilst the locomotive changed ends it was worth it to not have to change trains. This was the case up to and including 2001, but since they invested in new trains there has been no direct Crosscontry service go to and from Liverpool (they only go to Manchester). I've had some horrendous return journeys, so I decided since I am going to change I might just as well do so across London then I could leave Liverpool much later e.g.18:15I wish Crosscountry Trains would get their stupid act together.

DigNovember 11th 2008.

I've taken the train from Kirkby to Manchester a few times on the Wigan line. A droll depressing experience. The diesel train chugs along at a leisurely pace stinking up the carriages with it's fumes. Over 2 hours to do 30-35 miles. Averaging 15mph or thereabouts! I could cycle that without breaking a sweat. Credit where it's due though, if you're travelling within Merseyside the trains are usually spot on.

Why not?November 11th 2008.

Why can't Merseytravel lead the way on this? It's only a 35 mile journey. Why can't they run a service to Piccadilly by extending the Northern Line beyond Garston, There could be a northern line express every hour from Central, just calling at South Parkway, Warrington and Manc. Efficient trains, efficient drivers and a load of carriages. Job done!

Train fed upNovember 11th 2008.

I think the most frustrating thing of all is the fact that Manchester is only 40 miles away and yet if you don't join the horrific commute on the East Midlands service, you have to get a "stopper" which takes way, way, over an hour at the best of times. Why should this be?

Colonel BogeyNovember 11th 2008.

This really is appalling. Two major cities deserve a proper, full-length 'Inter-City' style train, particularly as it can continue to Leeds and onward (Apparently the privatised railways have buggered it up so trains go no further than Scarborough, i.e., you can't travel to Newcastle-upon-Tyne on the same train any more.)

John Lennon AirportNovember 11th 2008.

Yes, the last train is truly atrocious in both directions. This is supposed to be Capital of Culture year and yet the last train out for anyone who wants to enjoy the nightlife is 11.20pm, and that's a stopper which takes an hour and a half. The train is deserted. Funnily enough, come back from Manchester on the 11.25 from Oxford Road and it's party central all the way. Still too early to come home though and a real problem whatever time of day you travel.

WappingNovember 11th 2008.

There's plenty of good stuff in Manchester you can't get here. Manchester is about 3x the size of Liverpool and that size allows fringe and alternative events and scenes the critical mass to succeed. The size also means that many international scale doingses opt for Manchester as there is an audience of millions in its catchment. Liverpool's cultural stuff is different from Manchester's and I believe they complement each other quite well, I love them both (but not equally of course!).

Weak End LeodensianNovember 11th 2008.

Blimey O'Reilly! It's quicker to walk! No wonder the M62 is clogged with cars!

AnonymousNovember 11th 2008.

Unfortunately an awful lot of people from Liverpool work there. It is where the jobs are, it is on the main artery of the country in terms of road and rail and therefore attracts commercial investment and opportunities that Liverpool, a branchline port city on the edge, facing west into nothing, cannot hope to compete with. Liverpool is a great city, don't get me wrong, but that's another argument.

wappingNovember 11th 2008.

The service has been truly appalling for years and is now even worserer. They also stop ridiculously early. After a great night out last Xmas I got a train from Leeds to Manchester at 3am but I had to stay with friends in Manchester since there was no onward train until hours later. The last train from Manchester to Liverpool is about 11.15ish.

AmyNovember 11th 2008.

Fabulous to see another stand up to the appalling service on this trainline!! The service this morning put me in the worst mood!! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE can people just move up the carriage as I am fed up of shouting down the length of the train....we need to try and get as many of us as possible on the train! I'm a regular commuter and am losing the patience! The most frustrating thing is paying full whack for a service that most of the time i cannot use due to overcrowding or is the most uncomfortable journey imaginable!!!!! Please everyone fill in this form.....im going to spread the word on the train!!!!

Sir Nigel GrelseyNovember 11th 2008.

Et voilà! http://www.trainsardine.org

miss thetrainNovember 11th 2008.

as one who does the run on a daily basis i use the airport train which is a vast improvement on the warrington train and prevents you having to face the pompous sxxxs who get on there as well. the downside is evening when more often than not one has the em run nuff said. the classic em situ was when the guard announced on a less than full train that he would be charging full fare if yr bag was on an empty seat.if they cant overfill the train then they/ll debit yr bag! PRICELESS

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