AN emergency timetable came into force yesterday morning as scheduled train services were slashed.

Train operator Northern has axed 165 daily services until the end of July to improve reliability amid major disruption.

Passengers have been hit with hundreds of delays and cancellations since new timetables were introduced on May 20.

An “interim timetable” is now in place with 165 trains removed – six per cent of Northern’s total services.

Commuters gave a mixed response to the service and Downing Street slammed the service as "unacceptable"

Dave Rigby, who commutes from Ashton-under-Lyne to Bolton, said: "For the first in a fortnight the train was on time, and people were virtually in tears because they couldn't believe it had actually turned up and they would be in work on time.

"I got to the station just before 7.30am and despite the emergency timetable coming into operation I still held little hope of any improvement.

"The last fortnight has been sheer hell, because my 40-minute train journey never taken me less than two hours to complete.

"I think its pure chance that the train was there on time.

"Fortunately I have a boss who understands."

Responding on Twitter, A Darren Riley Train said: "In the interest of fairness, my 7.17am train today was only four minutes late and had plenty of room. However, I do have to leave earlier than usual to get a decent train. From 7.30ish onwards things get bad."

Tom Griffiths added on the networking site: "Very impressed with their ability to make trains vanish in to thin air. Getting my money's worth in magic tricks at least."

Caroline Hall described the bus replacement from Wigan to Liverpool as "horrific".

Vicky Jones said on Twitter: "I left Horwich at 8.46 am —on time — and arrived in Manchester 10 minutes late.

"No problem getting a seat and no overcrowding.

"Now just sat on train to Warrington which is delayed waiting for the express to go through. So day one OK for me so far."

Paul Stapleton stated: "More shambles had to leave 50 minutes early to make it to my connection and work on time and all we get from Northern is a sorry. Free travel should be the apology —paid for by the bosses wage."

A union has warned that it is rail staff who are continuing to bear the brunt of passengers' anger over delays and cancellations to services

The Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) said its members have faced abuse since new timetables were introduced last month.

The union said that the anger continued on Monday, especially on Northern.

General secretary Mick Cash said: "From the feedback on the ground and the stream of comments on social media it is clear that the so-called emergency timetables on both Northern and Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) have just piled failure onto failure.

"Once again it is RMT members at the sharp end, bearing the brunt of public anger at this latest shambles.

"If you draw up an emergency timetable that cancels trains to avoid cancelling trains and yet still cancel trains, you are not fit to run a bath, let alone a railway, and that is the absurd position that passengers are in this morning across both the north and the south.

"On any measure, both Northern and GTR must be in breach of their secret contractual obligations to provide a service to their fare-paying customers. They should be removed and the private franchises brought under public control."

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling was due to make a statement yesterday as cancellations and delays continued despite the introduction of temporary timetables designed to halt the disruption.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "We have tremendous sympathy with everyone who has had their rail journey delayed or disrupted.

"What we have seen had been totally unacceptable."