'Utter shambles' as new Lancashire MPs head to London for first week on the job

Westminster is set to be buzzing with fresh-faced MPs eager to tackle their new roles, yet an age-old issue seems to be putting a damper on their enthusiasm.

Newly-elected Labour MPs from Lancashire and other parts of the region are already voicing frustrations over train service reliability as they journey to the capital today (July 8). Among them is Paul Foster, South Ribble's newly-appointed MP, who has vented his fury towards Avanti West Coast, which runs services between the North West and London.

He posted a picture on X of a departures board showing the cancellation of a 6am train to London Euston. He wrote: "Day One on my way to Parliament and guess what... @AvantiWestCoast go and cancel my train just as I get to Preston station.

READ MORE: Do It grins my gears that grown men don't feel like complete idiots riding on these things?

"To make matters worse, the train actually pulls into the station! Utter shambles."

Mr Foster wasn't the only MP to be hit by disruption on Northern trains either. Kirith Entwistle, the new Labour MP for Bolton North East, also shared an image from Bolton's railway station on X at 9.36am.

She wrote: "Day 1 and my train into Manchester to get to London is cancelled. Off to a great start!"

Both the 9.21am and 9.58am services from Bolton to Manchester, run by Northern, were cancelled this morning, the M.E.N reports. Across the border from, new Calder Valley MP Josh Fenton-Glynn shared an image from Hebden Bridge station in West Yorkshire, with the caption: "On my way to London! I'm so excited to be starting a journey to be the voice in Westminster for the Calder Valley communities I love."

Eight minutes later, he added: "In news that will shock absolutely no one, my @northernassist train is delayed." Labour won a landslide in last week's general election, bringing an end to 14 years of Conservative-led governments.

The party has pledged to bring each rail franchise into public ownership once the existing private contracts come to an end. However, Northern has been publicly run since March 2020, when the Department for Transport's operator of last resort took on the franchise.

Northern says the disruption follows 'higher levels' of staff sickness than normal and ongoing industrial action. Craig Harrop, regional director for Northern in the North West, said: “We are sorry to any customers disrupted by service cancellations yesterday and this morning.

"Our operational colleagues are working hard to keep journey planners up to date. We are very actively managing higher levels of staff sickness, and on Sundays, which rely on crews volunteering to work additional hours, we have seen a reduction in train crew making themselves available on parts of the network.

"In addition, the ongoing industrial relations issues have their own impact. We are working hard with our colleagues and other train operators to improve service reliability."

Another disgruntled Avanti West Coast passenger was Claire Hughes, MP for Bangor Aberconwy in North Wales, who wrote: "In news that will shock absolutely no-one, my @AvantiWestCoast train down to London for my first day in Westminster has been cancelled."

Andrew Ranger, who was elected to represent Wrexham in North Wales, replied: "That'll be my train too!! Well we have another thing to add to the list of things to tackle. #avantifail."

During the election campaign, Transport Secretary Louise Haigh said that - if Labour won - the party would urgently consider stripping Avanti West Coast of its contract due to its 'woeful service' on the West Coast Main Line. Avanti West Coast has been approached for comment

Subscribe to our daily newsletter LANCS LIVE NEWS and get all the biggest stories from across Lancashire direct to your inbox