A TRAIN operator has promised to reinstate a popular Sunday service which takes East Lancashire passengers to the Yorkshire Dales and Cumbria next year.

Northern revealed it is working on a solution to the problems which led to the cancellation of ‘Dales Rail’ this summer.

The special charter train service has run on summer Sundays from Blackburn and Clitheroe to the Settle-Carlisle line since at least 1991, but the route's history can be traced back to 1976.

However the unavailability of train drivers willing to work voluntary overtime on Sundays caused it to be dropped this year sparking fear for its long-term future.

Now Tricia Williams, chief operating officer of Northern, has said: "The ‘Dales Rail’ service from Blackpool North to Carlisle will not operate this summer, but Northern is already working with stakeholders on proposals to reintroduce the service in 2024."

She revealed the move as the firm confirmed details of its switch to a summer timetable on Sunday May 21 and advised passengers to check the new schedule for any changes..

Whilst the overwhelming majority of services remain unchanged there are a small number of changes to specific lines, including a new hourly service between Leeds and Chester via Manchester Victoria on Sundays to provide additional capacity through the Calder Valley during the on-going TransPennine Route Upgrade engineering work.

Ms Williams said: “The new timetable coming into effect next month is part of a national timetable change process that takes place twice a year for all train operators in England. The train network is a complex system of inter-dependent parts and it is vital that changes are co-ordinated in this way.

“For the vast majority of our customers there is no change, but some will notice a slight re-timing of service – as such, I would advise all customers to check the timetable for any travel plans after May 21.

“There are a very small number of services that have been removed from the timetable which reflects customer demand and we have already communicated that information to those communities.”