Changes to some rail services  at Widnes railway station have left one commuter claiming his journey can now take up to twice as long.

Last December, a new timetable was introduced as part of a multi-agency effort between the Department for Transport, Transport for the North, train operating companies, Network Rail and local councils.

Project chiefs claimed the reason for the new timetable was to ‘improve reliability and reduce delays’ for customers across the North of England.

But one Halton resident who contacted the World, said services have been hit at Widnes station as a result.

The resident, who did not wish to be named, said: “If you look at all train services running from Widnes to Manchester, there is now only an hourly direct service. All other services to Manchester require a change at Warrington.

"Previously, no change was required at Warrington and all services from Widnes to Manchester where direct, with no changes, only stopping at stations along route.

"A journey that would normally have taken 30-40mins is now timetabled to take 45-90mins, and that’s without any cancellations or delays - which are regular occurrences.”

In an email seen by the World, rail operator Northern Trains told him that due to the way in which the timetable fits together around congested sections of track in central Manchester, it did result in some changes of train times compared to the previous timetable, due to what it said were limited train paths and single track sections in Manchester.

But the company said the service still met its contractual requirements with the Department for Transport and Transport for the North.
Chris Jackson, regional director for Northern, told the World: “Customers travelling from Widnes to Manchester can do so direct, twice an hour on services provided by Northern and East Midlands Railway. Alternatively, they can travel via Warrington Central where they can connect onto a Transpennine Express service."

He added: "Northern is fully committed to providing services from Widnes station.

"Indeed, our new timetable, which was introduced in December 2022, offers 112 services a week from the station to destinations across the region. This represents an uplift in services from Widnes compared to the previous timetable.”