TransPennine Express warn ‘do not travel’ due to system issue

Train operator TransPennine Express (TPE) has issued a “do not travel” alert for Wednesday as a “system issue” is causing major disruption to services.

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The FirstGroup-owned company, which runs trains across northern England and into Scotland, has suffered problems for several months due to staffing issues.

TPE customer service and operations director Kathryn O’Brien said: “Due to a significant rostering system issue, today we are experiencing a high level of unplanned cancellations and disruption across our network.

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“We know this will have a significant impact on customers travelling with us today and sincerely apologise for any disruption caused.

“We are working hard internally and with our system provider to resolve the situation as soon as possible.

“We are doing all we can to keep customers on the move but while problems persist, we advise customers not to travel and to seek alternative means of transport.”

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The operator has previously blamed a combination of problems, such as high levels of train crew sickness and a training backlog, for causing prolonged disruption.

It has also been hit by workers not volunteering to do paid overtime on rest days and infrastructure faults.

TPE workers who are members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) and Aslef are repeatedly striking in long-running disputes.

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Anthony Smith, chief executive of watchdog Transport Focus, told the Commons’ Transport Select Committee earlier this month “the industrial relations issues have been very corrosive and have clearly undermined (TPE’s) ability to provide a reliable service”.

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