ANDY Burnham has slammed ‘completely unacceptable’ cancellations, delays and overcrowding on Bolton’s trains.

The Greater Manchester mayor has demanded that Northern Rail and Network Rail produce a timetable for improvements to the service.

He has also advised passengers affected by problems on the line to contact the companies about seeking compensation.

Mr Burnham’s comments follow a meeting with rail officials and a statement of apology issued by the companies last week.

He said: “It is clear that services on the line between Manchester and Preston, via Bolton, have been completely unacceptable in recent months. People have experienced regular delays, cancellations and severe overcrowding.

“While I welcome the acknowledgement of the poor service and apology for it, passengers will want to know when things will get better. I asked Northern to provide a clear timetable for the completion of the line upgrade and the introduction of new carriages and, whilst I note that some improvements are expected over the coming weeks, it is disappointing they could not give more clarity on this issue.”

Network Rail said poor ground conditions — old mine workings, running sand and varying layers of rock, as well as emergency repairs to Moses Gate Bridge — have delayed work to complete the Manchester to Preston line electrification upgrades.

But the company has committed to its engineers working around the clock between January and May 2018 to make up time.