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Manchester to Liverpool Rail Chaos

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

Published on February 7th 2008.


Manchester to Liverpool Rail Chaos

Passengers on the rail line between Manchester and Liverpool are getting angry. Since the 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 twenty 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. Manchester 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 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 Manchester to Liverpool fifty 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 Manchester and Liverpool 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 twenty 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 and we’ll forward them to East Midlands Trains in a lovely Confidential package, making it clear the depth of your feeling.

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

Archbishop of CanterburyFebruary 7th 2008.

I think Sharia law should be applied to train management. Late operators should have their hands chopped off.

AmyFebruary 7th 2008.

I travel to manchester every day from Warrington. I have been on the phone to east midlands trains complaining for the past few weeks with no valid answers or action. The typical day recently has been to arrive at the station and the 2 carriages roll up! Everybody sprints for the doors forgetting all manners or curtosy including myself as it becomes a fight to get on the train. This not only happens in the morning but frequenly every evening! I have spoken to one of the train administrators from east midlands who informed me that they took over a franchise and do not have anywhere near enough trains or carriages+that nothing will be happening anytime soon! Also the cost of travelling on such a terrible service is mind boggling!! You dont need that kind of stress BEFORE you get to work!

AnonymousFebruary 7th 2008.

In response to Dawn the minx'es earlier comment. Some people live inbetween Manchester and liverpool and If you do a specialised job alot of the time you need to travel to the cities to find a job in this field! Manchester is too expensive to buy a house in a nice area where as warrington is much cheaper and has plenty of nice areas! This is about the state of the train service anyway so if you dont use......dont comment!!!

AvoFebruary 7th 2008.

Sorry Jenn, I thought you were another Jenn who I met at a previous ManCon event who said that they were searching for a job as a Trainee Solicitor. I assume that you're not the ame Jenn!

johnFebruary 7th 2008.

I have to get the 19:37ish train every night and because it never runs on time i miss my other train to the wirral so most nights i get in at 9:45 or later. I tryed to get the chester train home and guess wot its the bloddy same! The other night the liverpool train was cancelled and the chester train was late so i asked the guy who work at the station and he did'nt have a clue wot was going on he just turn the lights red to green my 2 year old could that and he loves thomas the tank and speaks better too!

HowardFebruary 7th 2008.

Ref Anon above. I quote "It never takes more than an hour", it's thirty miles for crying our loud. Reading-London is 20 minutes and a longer journey. Don't accept speeds that the Victorians would sneer at.

Tris Brown saysFebruary 7th 2008.

Brilliant idea - I've often wondered how to set up one up before now - but it should cover all of the services - plenty of people have a miserable trip from Deansgate to Liverpool on a packed overcrowded train - made worse by the blackpool one coming through first with lots of empty carriages! EMT is an awful company - but their customer service depatment is pretty good - they refunded me £117 over christmas because they're trains dumped me in peterborough with no way of getting where I was going!

AvoFebruary 7th 2008.

Jenn! Have you finally found yourself a Training Contract then?

AnonymousFebruary 7th 2008.

I agree. I also have paid in excess of £1200 to receive the worst standard of service. It is not acceptable to be treated so poorly, I wrote to EMT service to complaint and the response I got was a joke!!! I will dig it out and post it!

benjaminFebruary 7th 2008.

I agree totally the railway system needs attention immediately. What gets me is the state of the trains. As a 'developed' country we need a modern fast train service. Look at the Likes of Japan and China. Bullet trains!! Come On EMT and the rest think high-tech not Thomas the Tank.I travel from Southport to Manchester for Uni at least twice a week with Northen. The trains are slow, dirty and loud and yes! they are always overcrouded at rush hour_always only 2 carrages! Why? I also get third off but it still works out cheaper for me to drive plus its more conveniant. I should not be saying this in a world where 'climate change' has be become such a problem. So give people a reason to use the railways and improve them_NOW!!!

AnonymousFebruary 7th 2008.

17.37 from Piccadilly to Liverpool Lime Street last night, canceled again. What are we paying for again?

ktfairyFebruary 7th 2008.

So sorry to have upset so many of you!! Ha ha - the fact you all assume I live in a box in a over populated area is funny. In fact I live in a flat bigger than most 3 bed houses in Manchester and I overlook a very nice park! I do understand the trains are rubbish and am glad I don't have to catch one everyday - but it is my choice not to catch them. I have never had a problem finding a job within walking ditance of where I live and that hasn't always been the city centre.

secret squirrelFebruary 7th 2008.

Firstly I cannot believe KTFairy's comment - is KT Fairy really pleased with themselves in their box flat in over populated area. Why bother even commenting - if everyone moved into town that would be ridiculous.I cannot believe that I pay over £11 for a return trip and the quality of service - how do the government expect people to leave their cars at home if they dont make it cheaper and better?

Ali McGowanFebruary 7th 2008.

To all the people saying 'it's not all EMT's fault' - it may well not be - BUT to us seasoned travellers, EMT's service is far worse than Central Trains ever was. Firstly, all the trains I now catch with EMT are 2 not 4 carriages. Secondly, any of the very new clean trains that Central leased or owned have not been sold or inherited by Stagecoach [EMT] - just the crap old stock (dating from around 1989-92 if Wikipedia is to be believed). These factors are my main gripes - lack of seats and knackered trains. EMT won the franchise a long time ago so has had plenty of time to plan in more and better quality rolling stock. --------RANT ENDS--------- :)

mFebruary 7th 2008.

If you are travelling before 9am on a weekday you are paying the full-open fare. This means buying the ticket from the machine costs the same as buying it on the train. Don't bother using the machine and if the carridge is too busy for the conductor to get to you to buy a ticket then that's their fault. They should put on more carrriages.

Bring back British RailFebruary 7th 2008.

The problems with East Midlands Trains are entirely the fault of the Department for Transport (DfT), who decide on the allocation of trains between franchises. The DfT decreed that all of the nice, modern class 170 trains previously used by Central Trains on the Norwich-Manchester-Liverpool service be transferred to the new Cross Country franchise. The DfT also decreed that the class 158 trains now used on the Norwich-Liverpool service be reduced from three coaches to two with the centre vehicle transferred to lengthen trains on the York-Leeds-Blackpool service. The DfT's micro-management of franchises is a disaster (as also seen by the planned removal of stops at Stockport in half the Manchester-Birmingham service). As for the problems of buying tickets, I'd recommend buying a season ticket. You can buy them for a week or longer. All you need is a passport-type photograph. The ticket is valid on all trains between the two stations specified and will save you lots of money compared with buying a ticket each day.

AnonymousFebruary 7th 2008.

I work outside manchester and travel to a very small station where the trains only run once an hour but this means that it is a quiet journey once past salford central. I turned down a job which was essentially a promotion in Warrington after doing the journey from piccadilly just once - i could not do that everyday because of the overcrowding and its a shorter journey than the one i make now! i see the trains coming into victoria and they are criminally overcrowded, I feel lucky to have the journey that i do and for only £85 a month!!

Eddy RheadFebruary 7th 2008.

Why were EMT given the franchise if they didnt have the resources in place to either maintain the level of service that was there before or to improve it immediately? I dont remember there being anything hugely wrong with the service before EMT took over so why was it gifted to them. It seems to me that EMT's eyes were too big for its belly and you can't really blame them for being useless in this situation - its the whole 'system'* of franchises and the endless roundabout of separate train companies inheriting services that sucks. *I use the word 'system' loosely as this implies something that works.

wilkoFebruary 7th 2008.

try the manchester to chester route via stockport - one and a half hours and dirty carriages

AnonymousFebruary 7th 2008.

getintouch@eastmidlandstrains.co.uk - East Midlands email address. Have fun emailing!

NarkedFebruary 7th 2008.

And it's not just trains! The 85 from Piccadilly last night at 5pm was so full (think sardines...) that one person fainted and a number of people couldnt get to the door in time to get off! And STILL the driver stopped to take more on. Sheeesh... what's the world coming to, wall.

AnonymousFebruary 7th 2008.

Serivce like this and people wander why people like me decide to ditch the train and get a car instead! This needs to be sorted out now....this problem has been growing and mounting for years and no company nor council seems willing to do anything for the people of these 2 cities. We need more action groups set up by passengers to encourage OUR voice to be heard and OUR voice to be acted on!

LeeFebruary 7th 2008.

I'm fortunate as I comute out of Manchester in the morning to a mostly residential area so I'm going in the opposite direction to the rush.I suppose I have no complaints apart from the obscene prices and infrequancy of services.I did used to travel on the Eccles Metrolink line and that was always horrendous.I do have sympathy for those who won't leave their 'metal wombs' (to quote Bill Bryson. Why does public transport have to be so miserable?

kautzFebruary 7th 2008.

Forget about me staying for a few drinks after work with my colleagues. If I don't leave by 10 o'clock I have to get the vomit comet at half 11 and I don't get back to liverpool until twenty to one. And why does Oxford Road station have three trains an hour to liverpool during the day but two of them leave within 7 minutes of each other!?

AdamFebruary 7th 2008.

I agree, traveling on this line during rush hour is nothing short of degrading. When trains do arrive they are over crowded, old, dirty and about as water tight as the titanic post iceberg collision. I have witnessed one passenger faint and another take and impromptu shower when a leak in the roof emptied a bucket full of water on him. Where is my £60 a month going? It certainly isn't being invested in carrages that's for sure!

TanyaFebruary 7th 2008.

Absolutely diabolical I have to get on this every morning, it is hell and I hate it! Please SOMEONE do something about this poor service!

JinkiesFebruary 7th 2008.

ktfairy are you joking? Standing up on a train is actually quite hard you know, what with the movement of the train and having very little to hold on to, not to mention (as someone pointed out above) blind dogs wandering about - I'd wager that standing actually burns calories rather than makes people fat. If standing up makes people fat anyway (that's one for the health section I think?) You keep the smog outside your shoebox windows and I'll keep my fresh suburb air. Chugga chugga chugga Woo Woo!

AnonymousFebruary 7th 2008.

contact.cct@orr.gsi.gov.uk -ORR became the health and safety regulator for the rail industry 2005. The health & safety of the rush hour commuters is at risk, with the way everyone is crammed into the carriages. It would get an effective response if everyone complained. Please see the above email.

andyFebruary 7th 2008.

I commute from widnes to manchester monday to friday, i work flexi hours so I can normally avoid the appaling rush hour services although sometimes i do have to catch one of these services, and they are appaling, everybody packed in like cattle, however i can except this as it is no doubt the case for all rush hour public transport across the country. The thing that really grates me about EMT though is the fact that more often than not the services are late or, and this happens to me at least twice a week, the service is completely cancelled which leaves me sat on the platform for an hour waiting for the next train, which just is'nt good enough. If EMT can't operate the franchise to an exceptable standard they shouldn't have been given it in the first place.

HelpFebruary 7th 2008.

I couldn't get on the train again this morning! Please follow full and standings lead. Please support the commuters and write an emailto Geoff Hoon: www.manchesterconfidential.com/index.asp…

AnonymousFebruary 7th 2008.

Never mind the Manchester Liverpool line, what about the Manchester Huddersfield line from Victoria, it's regularly packed to the gills, always standing room only unless you manage to elbow your way on first, most of the time only 2 carriages when nearly all of the stations on that line can accommodate 4 carriages - however regularly being told that there is no rolling stock??? And I've even been on trains which are so packed that they've had to close the doors to disallow people from boarding at Victoria.....

GordoFebruary 7th 2008.

Avo, are you stalking people again?

AdamFebruary 7th 2008.

Dawn The Minx, why don't you apply for a job at East Midlands trains? I suspect it was something with your type of forward thinking who decided to put 2 carrage trains on instead of 4

ktfairyFebruary 7th 2008.

I apreciate that not everyone can afford to live in town and would wnat to and that public transport is a vital part of modern life. I just think that if some of the people lived closer to work it would help to lessen the problem. I am not attacking any individuals here (unlike some of you lot) - just trying to get the point across that we need to be more sustainable in the layout of our communities. Not something everyone can help with I know - but a few people could make a big difference.

johnFebruary 7th 2008.

got the 18:37 train last night and the train was delayed at man oxford rd because the door would'nt shut so i missed my train again to the wirral, thanks emt i missed my little boy go to bed again!

JinkiesFebruary 7th 2008.

Aw I was only joking ktfairy, you've got to admit you left yourself wide open hehe ;)

Jimmy Choo-ChooFebruary 7th 2008.

An earlier suggestion was made by someone to get on the train without having purchased a ticket. This is now being clamped down on (Ooops! A preposition is a word you shouldn't end a sentence with...oh, damn, done it again...).Anyway, the helpful train manager or supervisor or whatever title they strive for now, asks whether you have read the poster telling you that boarding a train without a ticket is an offence.This isn't helpful to anyone, of course, but even these guys must see that there is no point in running a service where you can't use the train at all, just because it has been decided that you have to own a ticket BEFORE you've got on the train, you'd sometimes not get your particular train because there was a queue and you'd miss it (!!??), or that, worse, the ticket office (travel voucher purchasing suite, maybe?) is closed, making it even more unlikely you'll buy a ticket. Surely, getting on the chosen train is the important bit, along with access to buying a relevant ticket.

JennFebruary 7th 2008.

I am about to start using this service again due to a new job, it WAS terrible, now it seems it is even worse! I recall my frind 7 months prgnant being squeezed on a rush hour train in the height of summer, she had to stand and as a result fainted (luckily it was so crowded she couldnt go far) Unluckily I couldnt get to her to help her and I couldnt get off the train in time to support her. All I could do was call her husband and worry. Personally I have spent far far too many hours at various stations on that line which is badly lit and unsafe, I remeber getting off at irlam to be greeted bty a policeman who told me to be careful as they were investigating a rape several hours earlier.Oh god it's all coming back to me now how terrible it was...

BenFebruary 7th 2008.

On a normal day on the train, I don't get a seat. This woudn't be a problem - I don't mind the odd bit of standing up. However it's a bit demoralising to pay for the every day privilege of standing in close quarters to a tramp that smells of booze, a wannabe entrepreneur who insists on getting out his bloody broadsheet, and a youth whose mobile phone ringtone alone, makes you want to jump onto the tracks. Once the train was so crowded, a man fell backwards onto a guide dog. It was fairly funny because the guy was an idiot. But the dog looked sad. The blind man didn't see what happened. Because he was blind. But that's not the point.

In a rushFebruary 7th 2008.

You get on the 85 then so I can get my bloomin train Jinkies. You twit

AvoFebruary 7th 2008.

Gordo, it is not stalking, it is actually "social networking"

Ali McGowanFebruary 7th 2008.

In response to: stevie says..“ get a car losers!” Errr I do have a car - and the drive to Sheffield from Manc is even more crap than EMT. Loser yourself. If you can't be constructive, bog off.

Outraged of DidsburyFebruary 7th 2008.

I listened to a radio programme about rail services into Manchester. A 'spokesperson' for the train company was pressed on what is an acceptable safety level for people to stand in a crowded train. Eventually he conceded that about 30% of the seating capacity ought to be the maximum no. allowed. I understand that the Leeds to Manchester rush hour trains are closer to 100%. So much for health & safety!

KymFebruary 7th 2008.

ktfairy - Not all of us can afford to live within walking distance of our places of work. (in my case, just off Piccadilly) Hence the need for public transport.

KymFebruary 7th 2008.

My boyfriend lives in Liverpool so I travel up there a lot from Manchester. The train from Oxford Road to Lime Street via Urmston etc is a NIGHTMARE. The carriages are manky, its too overcrowded and why do they insist on changing the platform at the last second so you have herds of disgruntled people rushing to a different platform to cram into 4 seats? Also, the 17:37 from Piccadilly to Lime Street is a total nightmare - so much so I'd prefer to stay in work late.

KellyFebruary 7th 2008.

m - unfortunately i have to use the machine or queue, as we have people waiting to check the ticket before the platform. The machine has broke before now, but they'd sooner have us miss the train and wait in an understaffed queue before letting us pass to get on the train.

JinkiesFebruary 7th 2008.

I wish they were, the last Jenn I had cost me a fortune!

ktfairyFebruary 7th 2008.

I live within walking distance of work thus saving myself money on travel, saving my waistline from standing around and getting fat and helping the environment as well. If it truly is that bad try moving- either home or job!

trishFebruary 7th 2008.

07.39 from Liverpool to manchester OR came without three carriages. Packed like sardines. Announcement on the train to tell us long suffering passengers that they EM were sorry for the lack of carriages but they had no exlaination why!

Full and standing!!!February 7th 2008.

After the indignity of fighting my way onto the Warrington to Oxford Road service for the best part of six months and the almost daily humiliation of explaining my late arrival at work I have finally had enough. The dangerous overcrouding, filthy conditions, lack of oxygen, people fainting, condensation dripping from the ceiling, the "this train has left the previous station full and standing" announcements, blind people and guide dogs being shuved out the way, not to mention the financial expense has I am ashamed to admit finally beaten me.... Please support your fellow workers and others who do not have another option to get to work and write an email to Geoff Hoon, the Secretary of State for Transport, plus East Midlands Trains representatives and local MPs www.manchesterconfidential.com/index.asp…

Lyndon ElliottFebruary 7th 2008.

Metrolink are the worst. I put some jeans on the radiator with a new monthly pass in the pocket and the script disappeared... apparently they are printed on thermal paper. I went to the office to get a new ticket and was (very rudely) told they have a 'no refund' policy and i needed to buy a new one. i argued that this unacceptable as it was not my fault (there were no warnings that the paper was 'thermal'), and i was eventually given the tel no. for customer services. 5 phone calls to 5 numbers and countless transfers later I was given the correspondance address of their customer care department to whom i wrote in early December. I have yet to receive a reply. For bare-faced, c**k-in-hand, rudeness and a complete disregard for your customers i think you would look long and hard to find a company that beats the Metrolink!

JinkiesFebruary 7th 2008.

Narked, there are loads of 85's around that time, why not just wait for the next one if it's too busy? Oh course, everyone's in a rush and has to get the first bus they see.

clanerFebruary 7th 2008.

East Midlands Trains are providing a good service here in the East Midlands. Keep up the good work.

Born & BredFebruary 7th 2008.

My sympathies! About two years ago I moved to London and a great new job. I also knew friends down there. However, I was driven back to Manchester by the hell that is the daily commute in London; and it wasn't even that far - only Bounds Green to Angel (all North London). Now I live in Hulme and walk to work in the city centre - bliss. My point is it's terrible how a bad communte can affect people's lives so much....

KellyFebruary 7th 2008.

A normal day on the trains - I buy my ticket at the machine, it's a gamble as to whether the machine wants to work, I’m greeting by rude staff, I wait on the platform for either a train that doesn’t have enough carriages, where I’m left standing for 25minutes, I’m stuck on the platform, because I couldn't fit on the train, the train is cancelled, or the train is delayed. I'm greeted from the train in Manchester by more delightfully rude train staff, who either snatch you train ticket off you, grunt at you, or run after you to double check you do have a ticket. I then look forward to the same again 8 hours later. Great service!

ktfairyFebruary 7th 2008.

no problem Jinkies - for the sake of all the angry people on here I hope this group makes some difference.

LozzaFebruary 7th 2008.

Please please get your act together and get the issues with public transport sorted. Us ladies at the office hear about these issues ALL DAY everyday and we are as sick of it as the poor people trying to get home.Is it any wonder that people still choose to drive to work regardless of high parking fees and threat of congestion charges when the alternative is a totally inadequate public transport system????Personally after 6 months of late, cramped trains and a hit and miss bus service i will be sticking to my RELIABLE FORM OF TRANSPORT- the car!

weary of stretfordFebruary 7th 2008.

I've commuted for some time by train from Wigan but have never suffered a journey as unpleasant as my daily Metrolink journey from Stretford to town. If I'm not at the stop before 8am (for a 10 minute journey) I find it impossible to board a tram that will get me to work before 9.30pm. I'm routinely unable to get on 4, 5 or 6 consecutive trams. At least on the trains, though sometimes quite full, I was able to board!

JaxFebruary 7th 2008.

I commute on the Liverpool/Manchester line each day. I never manage to get a seat in the morning, we're packed on like sardines both morning and night. WE NEED MORE CARRIAGES.

AnonymousFebruary 7th 2008.

I get the train from Wavertree in the morning (08:19) and although the train is busy almost all manage to get a seat. The cleanliness of the train leaves much to be desired but it is better than EMT which are appalling. I also wait for the 17:45 train from Manchester at night as the 17:37 EMT is that full that I wouldnt wish it on my worse enemy to travel on it.

KymFebruary 7th 2008.

ktfairy is again missing the point. If you cant afford to live in the city centre public transport is your only option. It's stupid to say that everyone can find employment within walking distance of their homes, because clearly they can't - otherwise we would do. We dont pay expensive prices to cram ourselves onto a train for laughs. I'm glad that your enormous flat overlooking a park allows you to walk to work, but perhaps if you werent taking up so much space, there would be more room for others to move closer to work.

AnonymousFebruary 7th 2008.

Absolutely. I used to live in Warrington and commuted every day to Manchester. At least a couple of times a week, I couldn't get onto the train because they would only send two carriages, so ended up having to wait for the next one, making me late for work. Thankfully I had an understanding employer, but other companies may not be so amiable about their staff's frequent lateness.

BenFebruary 7th 2008.

I suggest that all receiving poor services write bothto their MP and to their councils Passenger Transport Executive. Sadly, Manchester to Liverpool has been a ropey service to years. For this reason, I usually take the cheaper and faster coach service. The only problem is that the last coach back from Liverpool of a Saturday night is earlier than I'd like.

KellyFebruary 7th 2008.

17.37 from Piccadilly last night, was again only two carriages! There was definitely more than 30% of people standing.

DaveFebruary 7th 2008.

Don't just blame EMT - all they are doing is carrying out the orders of the Department for Transport who specify the franchise, allocate the trains and so on. Get on the backs of your MPs as well.

AnonymousFebruary 7th 2008.

We are paying for a service that does not meet our needs let alone our wants as consumers. If there was a competitive service East Midlands would cease to exist

DescartesFebruary 7th 2008.

Lemme guess, do you just pop outside your front door and chat to 'punters'?

PantherFebruary 7th 2008.

I suppose Im one of the lucky ones, in that I get on the Liverpool to Manchester train at Eccles and the man in the ticket office is always very nice. I really do sympathise with anyone getting on at Liverpool/Warrington, there is never enough carriages making it very uncomfortable and can totally understand why people faint. Surely basic requirements of public transport are to expect the train/tram/bus to arrive on time, to get a seat and to arrive at your destination on time - isnt this what were paying for? The fact of the matter is, this is a main line between the 2 largest North West cities and something we should be proud of (anyone remember James Stevenson, the Rocket etc). Finding employment closer to home should not have to be an option and if people from Liverpool wish to work in Manchester and vice versa,that should be their choice. EMT are running the service and have the power to change this - but for some bizarre reason are choosing not to and ignore their customers. Big mistake!

JinkiesFebruary 7th 2008.

Heh In a rush, I already catch the 85, but I don't feel the need to squeeze on and turn it into some kind of cattle cart - the driver might stop but it's the people's choice to force themselves on

AnonymousFebruary 7th 2008.

I've never done the journey at rush hour but regularly catch the 8:50 from Mcr Piccadilly to Lime Street. I've never had any problems getting on the train, there has always been more than enough seats and the journey has never taken more than 60 mins. My only gripe is that the carriages are a bit grotty - i've never had anything like the experience of the other people commenting on here and fingers crossed I don't!

Full and standing!!!February 7th 2008.

After the indignity of fighting my way onto the Warrington to Oxford Road service for the best part of six months and the almost daily humiliation of explaining my late arrival at work I have finally had enough. The dangerous overcrouding, filthy conditions, lack of oxygen, people fainting, condensation dripping from the ceiling, the "this train has left the previous station full and standing" announcements, blind people and guide dogs being shuved out the way, not to mention the financial expense has I am ashamed to admit finally beaten me....Please support your fellow workers and others who do not have another option to get to work and write an email to Geoff Hoon, the Secretary of State for Transport, plus East Midlands Trains representatives and local www.manchesterconfidential.com/index.asp…

AnonymousFebruary 7th 2008.

I moved from Manchester to Buckinghamshire 4 years ago and was amazed at the quality of train service we get. There was overcrowding on some routes in the South East when first privatised but this has been resolved. One operator being stripped of their franchise for not performing. But a lot of Ministers, MPs and govt officials were suffering bad service! If you are not happy with EML's response complain to Passengerfocus (http://www.passengerfocus.org.uk).

free4allFebruary 7th 2008.

As someone above says, i travel fairly frequently on this train but never at rush hour, and have not had problems at all - read these rants with some surprise as in my opinion the trains have improved immensely since the 1990s. The biggest single gripe i have is that there are no guards vans for bikes - the space for bikes is terrible on most trains - if you are allowed them on at all..the Mcr Liverpool train is no exception, as well as the fact that theres not nearly enough bnike racks at stations either ...

andyFebruary 7th 2008.

Sorry that should be accept not except.

FraggleFebruary 7th 2008.

I suspect that many of the problems here lie with how the railways were privatised rather than specifically with EMT. Under privatisation most companies don't actually own the trains to be able to make them longer, they have to hire them and there are only a certain number of trains to go round all the operators. If the leasing company doesn't have any spare trains then little can be done short of wait several months for more new trains to be built. But also the franchises change so often that quite a lot of trains are out of service being painted into this week's company's colour scheme, or undergoing refurbishment despite many being less than 20 years old (not such a long time where trains are concerned). Once upon a time trains had locomotives at the front and carriages could be added or removed to suit capacity, and trans-Pennine services had 6 or more carriages, but such trains are no longer used because they take longer to turn round at the destination, more staff are needed, running costs are higher and Notwork Rail, another creation of privatisation, charges a huge amount more for a loco-hauled train than for a little 2-car unit. For all the complaining back in the days of British Rail, the service was far better even if the trains were a bit scruffier but these days it seems that having shiny new (smaller) trains is the most important factor...

JennFebruary 7th 2008.

Ah, Jenns are 10 a penny! But feel free to congratulate me also!

AnonymousFebruary 7th 2008.

Is it really a good idea to give scousers a convenient and quick way of getting to Manchester, i think not.

AnonymousFebruary 7th 2008.

I get the train from Warrington to Manchester every morning and have done for a year. There is frequently not enough carraiges and I have been on the train before now when somebody has fainted because they have been so squashed against the wall. The train is so full that condensation runs down the walls and it makes me feel ill. I now get the train from Padgate to deansgate which takes longer but I can at least get a seat when I get on. This service is still really really over crowded. For this awful service I pay £1288 a year on my annual ticket. Its an absolute disgrace.

DescartesFebruary 7th 2008.

It's the same everywhere, I used to catch a train to Manchester on the Buxton Line - something I'd liken to how a damned soul would arrive in hell. God's forgotten the railways, and that reply from EMT looks suspiciously like the standard yawn producing response all the rail companies spew out when someone points out their services are lacking and they can't be arsed to sort it. A 10% increase on each service is great but amounts to what, an extra 20 or 30 seats max? Yeah I bet that'll really help the situation. I don't remember when the gov't ran the railways, I don't know if nationalisation would help but privatisation is still failing us year after year as we get ripped off and fat MD and Chairmen get rich, maybe it'd be an idea to use some of their bonus's to improve things?

JennFebruary 7th 2008.

Avo...am I missing the joke ( I am aware that my spelling makes me appear to have the interlect of a 6 year old, but I'm just a little special!)

Dawn The Minx, ManchesterFebruary 7th 2008.

Why don't these daily commuters find employment in Liverpool where they live instead of moaning about the situation and pinching jobs from us born and bred Mancunians?!

markFebruary 7th 2008.

the trains at 50 minutes past the hour go a different route to the ones everybody is complaining about that leave at 07 and 37, hence the reason "anonymous" isn't aware of any problems

Caroline MarsdenFebruary 7th 2008.

To everyone with nightmare train journey stories: I work for a production company in London and we're interested in putting together a documentary on train services. I need people to tell me their horror stories. Please email me at marsdencaroline@hotmail.com. And pass my email address on to any friends you have with good stories. Thank you! Caroline

Miserable old GitFebruary 7th 2008.

Its easy to blame East Midlands trains but what are the GMPTE and Merseytravel, the unelected transport quangos for Manchester and Liverpool doing about this? Fast and regular rail links between Liverpool and Manchester are critical to the success of both cities and these two quangos should be banging heads together to sort this mess out. There is no reason why it should be as bad as this if the public sector quangos responsible for rail in the region pulled their finger out. Take a look at what's happening in West Yorkshire where Yorkshire Forward, the regional devlpt agency, Northern Rail, and Yorkshire Metro, joined forces last year to finance 6 additional train units, and 1700 extra seats, for peak time services in and out of Leeds, Harrogate, Sheffield. Wouldn't it be great if GMPTE, Metrotravel and the NWDA (our regional devlpt agency)started thinking along the same lines. It is not all EMT's fault

helenFebruary 7th 2008.

i work in liverpool and live in manchester, the state of the trains and their inability to be on time is not what bothers me as much as the shear cost of a train ticket. Over the past 2 years it has risen from under £11 per day to well over £13 a day at peak time. that is over £220 per month. Even with rising petrol prices it is an embarrassing state of affairs when it is cheaper to drive than it is to get the train. How can the government expect us to consider the environment when we go to work when it is just so expensive to go by public transport. In my opinion people who travel to work by public transport should be given tax relief on their journey, then we might not have such a problem with grotty trains and overcrowding because we wont feel as though we are being ripped off every day.

AnonymousFebruary 7th 2008.

I don't think you would get bored slapping ktfairy - i think you like the sound of your own voice!

Ali McGowanFebruary 7th 2008.

I'm going to dig out my complaint and response from EMT for you - they did send a nice long reply - but no commmitments on dates. It's an absolute a*** that Stagecoach [psoing as EMT] should have been awared this route - yet are offering a worse service from the off. And I'm peeved to see that my train, the 0739 from Mcr Ox Road won#t be getting more carriages. I suspect ppl are voting with their feet because whilst the 2 [always clapped out] cariages are always quite full, there are less times now when it's standing room only. I travel that route 4-5 days a week so spk from experience... more info to follow.

stevieFebruary 7th 2008.

get a car losers!

RichardFebruary 7th 2008.

I feel sorry for you Liverpool to Manchester, but spare a thought for Metrolink passengers as well. The Altrincham to Manchester route is terrible with similar overcrowding, poor punctuality and ticket machines that don't work. It also needs ore carriages. When will they learn that the only way to get cars off the roads is to offer a BETTER service by public transport. It could all be so good without these ****wits running the public transport network!

TanyaFebruary 7th 2008.

Absolutely diabolical I have to get on this every morning, it is hell and I hate it! Please SOMEONE do something about this poor service!

AnonymousFebruary 7th 2008.

I have recently studied some Liverpool history for a University project and discovered that Liverpool to Manchester was the first commercial train running in the world. If this is true, then why is the service now a days so appaulingly late on a regular basis and not in the slightest bit adequate for customer needs? Please improve your service or your customer numbers will drop thanks to the better timed and cheaper national express coach service. Thank you.

Ali McGowanFebruary 7th 2008.

My email to EMT - [note my polite tones - rudeness gets you nowhere!!!]Congratulations on the new franchise.As a daily commuter from Manchester to Sheffield [0739 from Mcr Oxford Road] I've noticed that instead of the 4 coaches laid on per day by Central, we now only seem to get 2. However, it's not consistent - very occasionally it can be 3 or 4 - but that is rare and we need some consistency please. 2 coaches leads to standing, especially on the busier days [Mon, Tues] and is a clear degradation in service.3 points to raise:- you state on your plans for the future page that you want to increase capacity on the Liverpool - Norwich route. Do you plan to up it to 3 or 4 coaches for the morning commuter service I use? I was surprised last week to catch a train an hour LATER that had 4 coaches - and almost no one on it! Please can we have our 3 or 4 coaches on the 0739? It's busy as it arrives in Sheffield before 9am and quite a few people get off there.- you state you are to invest in the rolling stock. The trains we get on the Manchester-Sheffield route are loud and pretty clapped out - dirty, seats falling apart, etc. This contrasts massively with First TransPennine. Your trains [and I'm sure you know this!] need a refresh and ideally sound proofing - so my second point is when is the plan for this to happen? I note we get periodic coaches from refurbished SWTrains - much nicer, cleaner and very comfy.So, am glad to have you run our service - the train times seem no less reliable which is great, but my main concerns are seat capacity when it's busy and the 'clapped outness' of the trains. I hope you can get back to me. Thanks!Dear Ali McGowanThank you for your email of 12 January 2008 [they replied 22/1]. I was sorry to hear about theproblems that you have encountered on your recent journeys with us and Iapologise for the inconvenience this caused.We are very keen on ensuring that our trains run to time and providing apunctual, reliable and comfortable service to our customers is at the topof our agenda. However, within the new franchise we have inherited sometrains that have recently proven less reliable than we would like, this hascaused difficulties with the performance of some of our fleet. Regrettably,these issues have placed a strain on the availability of some of our trainscausing some delays and meaning that a number of trains are running withfewer carriages than normal. I apologise for the inconvenience you havebeen caused.Please be assured that we will work hard to improve our performance and weare investing heavily in our fleet including an internal refresh and makingtechnical modifications. In order to ensure that general maintenance can becarried out efficiently (which should improve the performance of our fleet)a large investment has also been made into the maintenance depots.We are also reviewing how we use our entire fleet. By reviewing averagenumbers of passengers travelling on trains and the carriages available, wecan see if our fleet is being utilised to its full potential. However, wedo not have spare carriages that can be added to a train on an ad-hoc basis.Once again, please accept my apologies for the disappointing level ofservice provided by East Midlands Trains and for the problems this causedyou. Despite your recent experience, I hope you will use our services inthe future.Kind regardsMartin McBrideCustomer Relations OfficerTel: 08457 125 678 (say 'Customer Relations')Fax: 01332 263894Email: getintouch@eastmidlandstrains.co.uk

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