COMMUTERS in Bolton will not see the benefits of electrification until at least 2019.

After it was announced the timetable changes in December had been scrapped the managing director of Northern Rail has revealed this will put back the roll-out of electric trains through Bolton.

David Brown said: “It’s right that the timetable decision taken by the industry focuses on putting customers first and ensuring there is stability and reliability of service. The May 18 timetable change didn’t go well and many customers were significantly disrupted and inconvenienced — and that can’t happen again.

“At Northern we’ve seen our services continue to stabilise with our interim timetable and we’re working hard with Network Rail to ensure service levels continue to improve. The number of services we operate will begin to increase from August as we review our interim timetable period. We’re truly sorry for what happened to customers.

“We remain totally focused on, and committed to, modernising the Northern network with new and refurbished trains, better stations and more services by 2020.”

Mr Brown added: “Network Rail is working incredibly hard to complete the electrification programme along the Bolton corridor to enable new and electric services to be delivered. An industry decision has been taken to phase in electric services to ensure we retain reliable and stable train services and don’t risk repeats of May 2018.

“We expect to start a gradual roll-out of electric trains on a phased basis on the Bolton Corridor in early 2019 — this planning is work in progress.”