TRAIN passengers will not benefit from any new services in Bolton and 95 percent of services in other areas will stay the same when Northern's new timetable begins next week.

Every six months all of the country's train timetables are rewritten, but bosses at Northern say they have chosen to make relatively few changes to the services which currently run in order to offer a more stable service.

The May timetable change created chaos for passengers from all of Bolton's stations when key infrastructure projects overran, leading to a complete rewrite of the entire system in just 16 weeks, compared to the 40 weeks that Northern and other operators had planned for.

This resulted in extremely high numbers of late and delayed trains for several weeks, and has contributed to a complex maze of other problems ever since.

On Monday, December 9, the new timetable will come into action and Northern's managing director David Brown, hopes it will help to improve things for passengers.

"We have taken the opportunity, where possible, to make small improvements to the robustness of the timetable in order to address some of the problems that arose in May," he said.

"This was because the May timetable was a compromise timetable due to it being entirely re-written and delivered in 16 weeks rather than the normal 40 weeks following delays to Network Rail infrastructure improvements.

"These improvements have in some cases enabled us to provide more journey options for some customers."

It was hoped that passengers might see new electric trains running from December, but Mr Brown had already announced that this will not be possible, saying the earliest this stock will be seen on the railway is the next timetable change in May 2019.

In addition, the company recently revealed that strike action means very few Northern trains will run after 5pm on Saturdays in December.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) is in an ongoing dispute with Northern over the role of conductors on trains and has announced a strike every Saturday until December 29.

This will only begin to affect passengers in Bolton from December 15 because an extension to the electrification programme - which is already two years past its intended deadline - has forced the cancellation of any trains between Manchester and Preston on December 1 and 8. All trains will be replaced by buses on these two dates.

To check if your train service is impacted by the small number of changes Northern has made, visit: