NORTHERN passengers who claim compensation for rail delays have been approved more quickly over the past six months, new figures show.

Inaugural Office of Road and Rail figures show there were around three million claims made nationwide for rail delays between April 1 and October 13, of which 84 per cent were approved and 92 per cent were closed within 20 working days.

Northern, which operates the Mid Cheshire Line through Northwich, have consistently improved their performance over the period, closing 50 per cent of their claims within 20 days in April but 95 per cent in October.

In April there were 8,963 claims against Northern, before a June peak of 36,968 following the chaotic timetable changes in May.

Claims in the four weeks ending mid-October were 16,121.

John Oates, chairman of Mid Cheshire Rail Users Association, said: “I would like to congratulate Northern on improving this vital administrative service to our rail users.

“At their peak in June 2018 Northern closed 34,193 claims in four weeks which is quite an achievement particularly when Northern services were at their height of disruption with the chaotic May timetable changes.

“From December 16, the Delay Repay 15 scheme was introduced which now allows rail users to make a claim if your Northern train service is more than 15 minutes late rather than 30 minutes.

“This allows you to claim back 25 per cent of your single ticket cost or 12.5 per cent of your return ticket cost.

“Whilst Northern have become more efficient in their back-office admin, MCRUA are still concerned over customer satisfaction on our line.

“Our passengers would prefer not to make a claim but to get to work on time or enjoy a day out on the pretty Mid Cheshire knowing they will get home on time”