TRACK faults and bad weather have been blamed for train delays at Westhoughton station.

Cllr David Chadwick, Bolton Council’s representative on the Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) committee, said he had investigated the issue after receiving a number of complaints from passengers about Northern Rail train services between Westhoughton and Manchester.

He found that recent wet weather and “seasonal adhesion issues”

— such as leaves on the line — had been to blame.

More than 197,000 passengers used the service in between April, 2010 and March, 2011.

Cllr Chadwick also revealed that the Southport to Manchester line passing through the station would have work undertaken in the near future to improve performance.

He said: “Several members of the public have contacted me about the poor services, running through Westhoughton en route to Manchester, in particular the service departing at 9.04am.

“I have drawn the matter to the attention of TfGM officers for investigation.”

He added: “I sincerely hope that we can improve the poorer performing services through Westhoughton in the near future.”

In a reply to Cllr Chadwick, Stephen Clark, TfGM’s rail programme director said: “During the last few weeks the performance on this route has specifically been affected by external weather related factors including flooding, and also by seasonal adhesion issues which trains experience during the autumn period.

“As well as this, a number of track faults have occurred in recent weeks. Following discussion at the Metrolink and rail networks sub-committee at its December meeting, the Southport line will be given some focused attention by the rail industry and all actions explored that could improve performance on this route.” Area director Lee Wasnidge, from Northern Rail — which operates rail services at Westhoughton — said: “This winter has been a particularly difficult period on this route with seasonal adhesion problems and significant flooding issues affecting performance.

“Thanks to close partnership working between Northern Rail, Network Rail and Transport for Greater Manchester, performance on the Southport line is being examined closely to discover how we can address these issues together and encourage improvement.”