The Mayor of Greater Manchester has called for an official investigation into Northern Rail after being bombarded with complaints about its service from passengers since the start of the year.
Andy Burnham has written to Transport for the North (TfN) about the frequent delays, last-minute cancellations and overcrowded on-board conditions on Northern services.
He has asked TfN chairman John Cridland to assess whether Northern Rail has breached its licence.
Mr Burnham (pictured) said data showed that Northern Rail had recently missed its targets for delays and cancelled services, including double the number of anticipated cancellations during March.
The mayor said rail users had been in contact with him via social media to highlight their negative experiences of Northern Rail, which runs services including the TransPennine Express and routes from Preston to Blackpool.
Mr Burnham said: “How can it be right that Northern presides over a service on which dangerous overcrowding in rush-hour is the norm, to such an extent that we know passengers have been taken ill?”
A spokesman for the Rail Delivery Group, said: “Everyone wants a great railway for the north of England. That’s why Northern is in the early stages of an ambitious transformation programme to modernise services across the region, improving journeys, better connecting communities and boosting local economies.
“As with all major transformation projects there have been challenges and there may be more to come but teams are working together tirelessly day-in-day out to minimise any disruption to passengers.”