A RAIL passenger group is warning that travellers face lengthy delays after a train company brought in new timetables.
Train passengers from Hartlepool travelling to the North West now have to wait at least twice as long to catch their connecting service.
It is after the TransPennine operator introduced a new timetable on May 18.
The result is that Northern Rail passengers have to wait 20-40 minutes at hub station Thornaby to change on to the TransPennine services.
The Coastliners rail group, which represents passengers and campaigns for better local services, says many travellers are not aware of the new delays. Spokesman Graham Head said: “Up until May 18, it was an integrated service.
“Before, you had a wait of about 10 minutes between Northern Rail and TransPennine services at Thornaby, but now it is 20-40 minutes.
“There are people who will be using the service who are totally unaware of this problem.
“It has happened because TransPennine have upgraded services in reaction to problems with things like overcrowding. But now it has caused other problems in terms of linkage.”
TransPennine, which runs trains to Manchester Airport, says the new timetable has provided an additional 90,000 seats across its network.
It adds the industry has worked together to provide the best network capacity increase to the majority of people, but unfortunately it means slightly longer connections for some customers.
A First TransPennine Express spokesman said: “The largest volume of feedback we receive from customers is about capacity.
“We are delighted therefore to be able to introduce an additional 90,000 seats a week across our network.
“To facilitate this significant improvement, we have had to along with other operators re-time some services, which may result in slightly longer connections for some customers.
“Whilst we appreciate this is not ideal, the changes have been consulted and made based on providing the largest possible benefit to the majority of customers. We will continue to work with local customer representatives and other operators to review the impact of the changes and make alterations.”
A spokesman for Northern Rail said: “We understand timetable changes that result in longer waits for customers can be frustrating and we are happy to meet with local stakeholder groups to discuss timetable alterations.”
opportunities for local communities.”