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Andy Burnham slams Grant Shapps for not realizing what number of London-Manchester trains are working throughout cuts

Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has criticised transport secretary Grant Shapps for not realizing the variety of trains from the capital to the northwest hub on Avanti West Coast’s present decreased schedule.

The transport secretary instructed BBC Breakfast presenters that there have been “four trains an hour” between London and Manchester, when there’s at the moment one per hour.

“I can’t believe I’m watching this. What hope do we have when the Transport Secretary doesn’t know the details of the reduced timetable he signed off?” mentioned Mr Burnham, posting a video of Mr Shapps being questioned.

“And, by extension, this means [Mr Shapps] is unaware of the misery he has inflicted on millions of passengers. Nowhere near good enough,” he added.

In the clip, Mr Shapps corrects presenter Charlie Stayt, who has mentioned there’s one prepare per hour between the cities, insisting that there are 4 hourly trains on Avanti’s current schedule.

Mr Stayt replies that there’s at the moment one prepare an hour on this route. Mr Shapps says: “All I can tell you is there are still trains running down the west coast mainline.”

Avanti West Coast recently reduced its number of hourly services on the London-Birmingham-Manchester route from three per hour to 1 per hour.

Mr Shapps appeared accountable the blunder on Mr Stayt’s query about “direct trains”, saying “Do you mean trains that stop at other stations? I’m not quite sure of your definition.”

He recommended that Mr Stayt “may be getting confused” about Avanti’s emergency timetable for strike dates.Avanti’s amended schedule will run from 14 August till at the least 9 September, the operator says.

It blamed the cuts on “unofficial strike action” in addition to employees shortages on account of sickness.

“This is due to the current industrial relations climate, resulting in severe staff shortages through increased sickness, as well as unofficial strike action by Aslef members,” learn an announcement from the corporate.

Typically Avanti West Coast depends on 250 drivers per day engaged on their relaxation days – masking round 400 passenger trains. The variety of volunteers was constant.

But sources say that actually in a single day, the variety of drivers working relaxation days dropped dramatically – by nearly 90 per cent. This is considered the “unofficial strike action” the operator has pointed to when making the cuts.

In a follow-up tweet, Mr Burnham pointed Mr Shapps to the National Rail enquiries web site, displaying how he had managed to verify the variety of hourly trains on the route.

A Department for Transport spokesperson mentioned Mr Shapps was referring to the 4 trains per hour working from London Euston on the West Coast Main Line – one to Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham – fairly than the frequency of London to Manchester trains.

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