Passengers hoping to travel on one of the leading train operators serving the north of England are facing many daily cancellations because of a shortage of train crew – with the added problem of multiple strikes.
The company says: “Like many businesses across the UK, TransPennine Express continues to feel the impact of Covid-19.
“The increasing effect of the Omicron variant, coupled with seasonal sickness, has resulted in a shortage of available train crew.”
The temporary timetable is intended to provide “improved reliability and stability”.
But additional cancellations are also being made at short notice.
On Tuesday afternoon and evening alone, around 20 inter-city trains were cancelled due to not enough staff being available.
Multiple links between Manchester and Hull were axed, along with services between Liverpool and Newcastle.
Other trains stopped short of their final destination, such as the Manchester airport to Redcar train that went no further than York.
On 13 February, a series of four Sunday strikes begins. Conductors who are members of the RMT union are taking industrial action
TransPennine Express customers are being asked to plan carefully for travel amid the disruption.
The dispute centres on rest day and Sunday working and payment for using new technology.
Of train conductors who voted, 85 per cent were in favour of strike action.
TransPennine Express says: “We’re asking our customers to consider their travel options on the affected dates as significant disruption to our usual services is expected.
“We’re extremely disappointed with the decision of RMT, which will not only disrupt customers’ journeys, but also comes at a time when the rail industry – alongside much of the nation – continues to feel the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.”
The train operator says it is “still working through the potential impact” of the RMT action. It says it will publish “any amended timetables as soon as possible”.