NORTHERN Rail bosses were hauled over the coals last year for the terrible service failures brought about by the poorly executed new timetable in May.

If you recall, passengers on both the Furness and Lakes lines were left stranded on station platforms with non-existent trains, late arrivals and a subsequent crash in confidence in the network.

Northern pledged to make amends and services now appear to be back on track with the long-promised new rolling stock finally being introduced this month.

Yet the message from councillors seems to be that passengers have yet to return in sufficient numbers.

The figures show that punctuality continues to be an issue on the Furness Line, although 83 per cent does represent a marked improvement on last year. It appears that Northern still has a public relations job to convince people to risk taking the train. By the same token, people must be prepared to give services another chance to see for themselves if they can be relied upon.

Otherwise, we all know what happens next. Train bosses will argue that not enough people are using the Furness Line and will look to reduce services.

What follows is a growing reliance on the car when the A590 is already heavy with traffic. Any reduction in rail services would be bad for Barrow, business, and the environment.