I AM writing to support your call for the Prime Minister to “get a grip” on the chaos caused to passengers by the new timetable introduced by Northern Rail (“It’s time to get a grip on transport”, Comment, June 5).

The truth is that Theresa May and the Transport Secretary, referred to by colleagues in the Conservative Party these days as Failing Grayling, are badly letting down passengers in the north of England.

The fault lies with Mr Grayling; the Department for Transport; Network Rail; and Northern Rail, which does not employ enough drivers to deliver the service it promised, in its franchise application, to deliver; and which started training drivers – giving drivers the route knowledge they need – far too late.

It makes a mockery of the idea of a Northern Powerhouse.

The lack of investment in rail in the north is an utter disgrace; the north receives £2,555 less per person than London in rail investment each year (£1,600 per person compared with £4,155).

As train drivers, and as a progressive trade union, we believe in a modern railway, fit for passengers, and staff, to help build a better Britain in the 21st century.

Mick Whelan,

General secretary, ASLEF, the train drivers’ union,

St John Street, London

Northern’s problems not of their making

William Moore castigated the Government and Northern Rail (Letters, June 5) for failure to deliver Northern’s new, enhanced summer timetable. Your editorial did likewise.

Northern’s problems are not of their making.

Rather it is the impact of incomplete infrastructure upgrades, which are being carried out by Network Rail to support the new timetable.

Principal among these is the delayed electrification work between Blackpool and Manchester via Preston. The delays have been due in part to unforeseen poor ground conditions around Bolton, caused by old mine workings. These are still being resolved.

Electric trains are now able to operate between Blackpool and Preston, but can only reach Manchester via another electrified route.

Diesel trains displaced by completed electrification work were scheduled to be transferred on to other routes, in tandem with a programme of driver retraining.

None of this can happen until the delayed electrification infrastructure is completed. And while drivers are being retrained on new trains and new routes, they cannot be operating other passenger services.

The developing situation was recognised earlier this year, and timetable modifications were planned. But these are subjected to months-long internal industry consultation procedures, which delayed their acceptance until after the the new summer timetable began.

The National Rail website has a joint statement by the industry partners concerned.

I hope that the inquiry promised by Chris Grayling will be as critical of the Government and Network Rail as he has recently been of the train operators.

Paul Hepworth,

Windmill Rise,

Holgate, York