AUTHORITIES have announced plans for a system of compensation aimed at train passengers hit by recent periods of disruption.

The scheme, agreed at a meeting between the Department for Transport and Transport for the North, focuses on long-term customers who have season tickets on Northern rail lines.

The costs of the compensation package will be met in full by rail companies, and passengers will start receiving payments from early July.

It follows promises from government to reimburse those affected by the large-scale delays and cancellations which followed the timetable change on May 20.

Season ticket holders on the worst affected Northern services who experienced disruption before and after the May timetable change, will be eligible to receive a cash payment equivalent to up to one month’s travel, in addition to standard compensation.

Other season ticket holders in different parts of the North less heavily affected will be able to receive a payment subject to one week's travel.

Following the announcement, rail minister Jo Johnson said: “Rail passengers have experienced unacceptable disruption and, while we have started to see some improvements, many people are still not getting the service they expect. We are doing everything we can alongside Transport for the North and Northern to improve the service, but it is absolutely right that passengers should be compensated for the disruption they have suffered.

“This comprehensive package, together with the steps we are taking to get services running and the independent inquiry we announced earlier in the month, should go some way towards putting right the problems we’ve seen.”

A representative from Transport for the North, which consulted on the plans alongside the government, said the plans were positive but that the organisation would continue to push for more compensation for regular non-season ticket holding passengers.

John Cridland is chairman of the regional transport authority's board, which also includes Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham.

He said: “We know that the past few months have been very frustrating for many northerners, with those who regularly travel by train being heavily affected.

"The Transport for the North board has been pressing the rail industry to adequately compensate those who have suffered the most. I’m delighted that we are now able to start doing this but there is still more work to be done.

“Compensation for season ticket holders will be administered directly by the train operating companies, with Northern and TransPennine Express due to announce details of how people can claim very soon.”

The plan has also received the support of some passenger groups.

Jeff Davies, head of the Bolton Rail Users Group, said: “The compensation scheme seems reasonable to me. I just hope it will be implemented smoothly and Bolton travellers who claim won’t face any delay in receiving what is due to them.”

Northern has implemented an interim timetable which has stabilised services, although significantly less trains now travel each day.

The timetable will end on July 29, at which point the initial timetable - first implemented on May 20 - will again come into force.