ST Helens’ MP has called for the Government to take control of the Northern Rail contract following months of travel chaos.

Marie Rimmer, MP for St Helens South and Whiston, has written to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.

In the letter, Ms Rimmer called for the Northern rail contract to be brought immediately under government control, both to end the misery of commuters in her constituency and across the region and to signal that the Department for Transport is genuinely committed to quality infrastructure and transport in the North.

Ms Rimmer said: “With Northern services continuing to be cancelled and delayed after months of commuter misery, it’s time the Transport Secretary takes control of this failing franchise.

“An inquiry which is only due to report in four months’ time, at which point the timetable will be thrown into chaos once more, won’t cut the mustard when thousands of people are severely affected on a daily basis, and the Northern economy is taking a hit to the tune of millions of pounds.

“Mr Grayling must understand that passengers don’t want ‘special compensation’, they want to be able to get home and to work without missing crucial meetings or important family occasions.

“He must take urgent action now and end the disruption to people’s lives.”

The correspondence comes following a government answer to a written parliamentary question tabled by Ms Rimmer on the issue, which was provided by the Minister of State responsible for rail, Jo Johnson MP.

The response given by Mr Johnson referred to a previous answer from the government on the issue of Northern Rail’s failed service and mentioned the ‘special compensation’ provided on top of Delay Repay to travellers.

Ms Rimmer highlighted to Mr Grayling that, since her question asking for an assessment of the economic and social impact of the Northern rail crisis, the Northern Powerhouse Partnership has estimated a cost to business of £38 million across the region.

She also noted how some commuters’ journeys have become untenably long, with ‘disastrous’ impacts on their family and social lives, and with a ‘severe impact’ on passengers’ overall sense of wellbeing.

Access to employment, health services and family activities has ‘been impeded by this inept service’, Ms Rimmer said.

Pressing for more drivers to be taken on board, Ms Rimmer emphasised that training future drivers needs to be an urgent priority for the line to function going forward – particularly given that further timetable changes are on the horizon.

The crux of the issue, Ms Rimmer said, is the disparity in both investment and priority given to transport in the North compared to the South.

IPPR North found that over the last 10 years, an annual average of £708 of transport spending per person was given over to London, while £289 was spent for each person in the north of England.

She said improving connectivity in the region is one of the only meaningful ways to begin to breach the north-south divide.