Grand Central passengers hit out at multiple cancellations due to not enough drivers

Train passengers have faced more travel chaos in the run up to Christmas after Grand Central cancelled several services due to a shortage of drivers and staff sickness.

Monday, 23rd December 2019, 12:25 pm
Updated Monday, 23rd December 2019, 1:22 pm
Grand Central runs services between Sunderland and London Kings Cross and stops at Hartlepool.

Four services on the Sunderland to London Kings Cross line, which stops at Hartlepool, were cancelled between Friday, December 20, and Sunday, December 22, because the operator did not have enough drivers.

And two more services – the 12.30pm Sunderland to London and return 16.48 journey – have been cancelled on Monday, December 23, because of staff sickness at short notice.

They are the latest in a series of cancellations by Grand Central this month alone that have left passengers, many travelling for the festive break, incredibly frustrated as they have to make other arrangements.

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Passengers affected by Sunday’s cancelled 13.48 London Kings Cross to Sunderland service were advised to buy tickets and travel with LNER and claim a refund.

People due to catch Friday’s cancelled 17.30 Sunderland to Kings Cross service at Sunderland and Hartlepool were provided with road transport to Newcastle and Darlington respectively.

They then had to change at Doncaster and travel with another operator to the capital.

Two services were also cancelled on Saturday.

One angry customer said to Grand Central on Twitter: “At a time when people want to travel you have 'multiple cancellations'.”

Another said: “It is not even remotely acceptable to cancel a train and blame it on a shortage of train drivers, is that actually a joke?!”

Another said: “Such an annoying start to the festive season!”

A Grand Central spokesperson said: “We are truly sorry to customers affected by the recent service cancellations, as a result of unforeseen short notice staff illness, operational issues and a variety of incidents along our route.

“We understand the frustration and inconvenience caused when trains do not run as planned.

“Customers travelling over the festive period are advised to check our website ahead of travelling, follow us on Twitter or speak to station staff at manned stations for the latest travel updates.

“Delay compensation is available for customers who were delayed in reaching their destination by 60 minutes or more - please visit our website at www.grandcentralrail.com for further details and our compensation form.”