PACKED trains are becoming a source of anxiety for many travellers getting to and from work,

The Darwen to Rochdale service via Bolton is one of the worst morning and evening peak time trains, with often just two-carriage pacers being sent to the masses of people waiting, already anxious and late for work.

Elizabeth Carlisle, on the Bolton train said she had asked for holidays from work due to the stress of trains.

She said: “This is probably the worst they have ever been in my many years of commuting.

“It’s third world and people at Hall-ith-wood don’t have a chance most mornings.

“I’ve had to take a week off on holidays because the stress is just killing me. It’s disgraceful.”

Clinical Researcher, Tanviha Quraishi-Akhtar travels from Darwen to Manchester, and says that getting home to her daughter is becoming an anxiety issue.

Mrs Akhtar said: “I have to pick my daughter up and it’s just become my biggest anxiety when travelling, because there are always problems.

“I have to see patients sometimes for appointments, what excuse can I give them?

“Even parking at Bolton is not an option due to the car pack being closed since work was carried out at the station two years ago.

“It’s also disconcerting being made to stand at such close proximity to a stranger as it would be for anyone regardless of gender.”

Jeff Davies of the Bolton Railway Users Group said it was not Northern to blame, but rather the government.

He said: "Northern are faced with serious difficulties, which are being caused by the government restricting the previous Northern in what they can do with new trains and timetables.

"Northern seem to be trying everything possible to solve the problems and are well on their way to improved services.

"We know that there are issues and we regret that very much, but are working on improvements."

Another commuter on the train, said: “The trip home is a nightmare. I recently had to request a working hour change due to what this service does to my anxiety.”

Chris Jackson, Regional Director at Northern, said: “Northern has faced unprecedented challenges during the past two years, particularly the unacceptable disruption following the May 2018 timetable change, which is well documented.

“This was caused by delays to, and late delivery of, infrastructure projects which were outside of our control.

“We have apologised to our customers for the pain caused and have since delivered two successful timetable changes which introduced many more new services and, crucially, significantly improved performance.

“Since the start of the franchise, we have made a large number of other improvements. We are investing heavily in new and refurbished trains, have introduced more than 2,000 extra services each week and hundreds more people have been employed to help customers.

"These improvements are delivering significant benefits, but are still a work in progress. Underpinning all this is an absolute focus on safety for customers and staff.

We are, therefore, committed to significant investment in staff training and in further upgrades our trains and stations, giving customers more room and better travelling conditions.”

Personal Experience –

I travel to work from Blackburn to Bolton during the week, and it’s like a game figuring out what time you’re going to get into work that day.

Two carriage pacers during peak times for this line to Rochdale, especially after 5pm, means I have to fight to get onto the train or accept defeat and wait for the next one.

When I’m finally on the train, with someone’s elbow in my face, there’s a moment of panic as I realise I’m too far from the door and might never get off.

It’s a real worry, especially when more people get onto the train,

Delays and cancellations have become my friends, and even if I think I’m safely on the train, an announcement that the train won’t be going any further fills me with dread.

Many times, the trains I catch are delayed or cancelled at the last second, sometimes even letting people on them before saying there is no train driver.

I hope Northern can turn this around in the new year, because at the moment going home is the worst thing.

I also think they should start handing out slips to hand in at work to say why you’re late, maybe that way some people will not have to embarrassingly explain why they are late for work again.