FULL train services could be back by the end of July, the managing director of train company Northern has told the Guardian.

David Brown also apologised to customers, saying that staff at the firm were “absolutely determined” to fix problems which led to a raft of cancellations and delays when a new timetable was introduced on May 20.

Passengers were hit with heavy disruption in the two weeks following the change, with just 69 per cent of trains arriving within five minutes of the schedule and 11 per cent cancelled or more than 30 minutes late.

Mr Brown claimed everyone at Northern feels responsible for the poor service but confirmed that the issue had been caused mainly by a two-year delay to Network Rail’s infrastructure programmes in the North of England.

He also said that the company was working on a new scheme of compensation which was aimed at season ticket holders.

Mr Brown said: “We are taking the opportunity between now and July to identify the issues, get those addressed and introduce the timetable in July, but it’s a major change that we need to make sure we’ve got right.

“It’s clearly not gone as well as our customers wanted it to do. We’re really sorry about that, there’s no one from me down at Northern that wants to deliver the quality of timetable that we delivered in the first two weeks.

“But, we’ve introduced the interim timetable and performance is improving, it’s getting more stable and there’s more certainty for customers.”

The Rail Delivery Group, which represents all of Britain’s train operators, confirmed that, in the first four days since the introduction of the interim timetable on June 4, Northern had run 654 trains, with 83 per cent arriving on time and just three per cent cancelled or significantly late, an improvement on the two weeks following the timetable change.

However, this figure refers to a reduced number of services and is still below the company’s annual average of 86 per cent.

Mr Brown said that the problems stemmed from the lack of time Northern had to develop its timetable, which meant drivers could not begin training on new routes until shortly before the timetable was introduced.

This meant training which should have ended before the timetable began was not completed by May 20 and is still ongoing

He also explained that an ongoing dispute over driver’s rest day working had added pressure.

Rail union ASLEF agreed to reinstate rest day working in the “short-term” last week, which is expected to help the situation.

Mr Brown said: “It’s really clear that, the root cause is two things, one is that we were trying to run a timetable based on a set of infrastructure works - electrification to Blackpool and the Bolton corridor - that’s been either heavily delayed or just delayed and that has then led to us rewriting the timetable in a really short space of time, three months rather than nine or 10 months.

“That has stimulated the driver training requirement and within that, drivers aren’t working rest days and that makes doing all the training even harder.”

The former chief executive of Transport for the North also explained that the company was working on a new compensation scheme, aimed at helping long-term customers that bought tickets before the interim timetable came into force.

He added: “We’ve got two levels of compensation, already people can claim through Delay Repay if their train is cancelled or delayed by more than 30 minutes.

“We’ve had a lot of people applying for that so we’ve brought in more staff from across the Arriva group to ensure we’re responding to claims as quickly as possible. Already over the two years of the franchise we have paid out over £2 million in compensation.

“The second thing is we are finalising details of a further compensation package, aimed at our loyal customers, our season ticket holders, we’ll be able to announce the results of that in due course.”

Network Rail’s infrastructure programme has been pushed back by around two years. and senior sponsor Andrew Morgan, has said that work should be completed in time for the next timetable change in December.

This would mean commuters could benefit from modern electrical trains, a huge upgrade on Northern’s stock, some of which is from the 1980s.