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TransPennine Express is to give season ticket holders a rebate that cancels out the annual fare increase after disruption to rail services. The firm’s managing director, Leo Goodwin, said the firm’s performance was “not up to scratch”.

The Department for Transport said the rail firm’s performance in recent weeks had been “completely unacceptable”.

Cancellations on routes in the north-east of England will continue until the end of January, the firm has said.

The firm has been trying to introduce new trains and implement staff training, but blamed delays to these on maintenance and infrastructure issues.

A number of trains between Leeds and Edinburgh, stopping at Chester-le-Street, Durham, Darlington, Morpeth and Newcastle, have been cut.

TransPennine Express said on Monday that customers who held a season ticket between 1 October and 31 December 2019 “will be eligible for a 3% rebate, which will more than cover the 2.8% average increase on regulated fares”.

Mr Goodwin said: “We know that our performance was not up to scratch at the end of last year and for this, we really do apologise. We have experienced a number of issues following the introduction of our new trains, resulting in disruption to a number of our customers journeys with us.

“I would like to thank our customers for continuing to travel with us and it is only right that we compensate them for the recent disruption.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Transport said: “TransPennine Express’ performance in recent weeks has been completely unacceptable.

“We understand how deeply frustrating this is for passengers, who should not have to put up with continued poor performance, and we will not tolerate continued significant reductions to services.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has “demanded immediate explanations from the operator, Network Rail and rolling stock manufacturers, and will be convening an urgent meeting to determine how they will improve services for passengers,” the spokesperson added.

If a rail firm is falling down on its contractual obligations, the Department for Transport can take measures ranging from demanding remedial action to taking the franchise over.

“We have been clear with the operator that they must take urgent steps to address their poor performance problems and, if appropriate, we will take action under the terms set out in the franchise agreement,” the spokesperson said.

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