A NEW train timetable set to come into force later this month will restore many of the services lost after massive issues last year.

Passengers were hit by a raft of delays and cancellations in May 2018 after last-minute delays to infrastructure work in Bolton caused a delay in planning service changes.

This year's change, set to come into force on Saturday, May 18, will see relatively few alterations for passengers, with a small number of new or extended services.

Jeff Davies, chair of the Bolton Rail Users Group, said the timetable shift would be a positive change for travellers and could pave the way towards the introduction of longer trains.

He said: "We're glad to see that the timetable that was proposed for last May now seems to have been implemented and it's given us a better service up the main line to Preston and Blackpool.

"We're looking to see how the trains can become longer so that the overcrowding problems are being solved."

In Bolton the changes to the timetable will mean passengers get one service each hour which is extended from Buckshaw Parkway to Preston and another extended from Manchester Piccadilly to Stockport and Hazel Grove.

It will also herald the introduction of more electric trains through the town.

Northern, which runs the majority of services through Bolton, recently introduced some refurbished electric trains on journeys to Buckshaw Parkway and Manchester Victoria, but passengers should expect to see more of these as the year goes on with the phased introduction of the company's new £500m fleet.

This new stock - made up of 55 diesel units and 43 electric units - is expected to aid Northern in removing the widely-disliked Pacer trains, which were first introduced more than 30 years ago.

The company still uses the trains on a number of lines, including running regular services between Bolton and Manchester.

Northern says it will have taken all Pacers away from the network by the end of the 2019 as it phases them out in favour of new and refurbished electric and diesel stock.

The new fleet includes features such as free customer Wi-Fi, air conditioning, at-seat power and seat reservation systems.