Angry rail travellers may receive extra compensation following a string of delays and cancellations.
Under-fire Northern, which runs services between Sunderland and Hartlepool, has confirmed negotiations are ongoing with track operator Network Rail and the Department of Transport to finalise a scheme.
The talks were prompted by widespread condemnation of Northern after passengers were left stranded by disruption following the arrival of the new national train timetable last month.
While services in the North East, which also pass through Seaham, Seaton Carew and Billingham, have been largely unaffected, emergency timetables have been introduced in the North West with all the company's trains through the Lake District cancelled until Monday, July 2.
Discussing the talks, David Brown, managing director of Arriva Rail North, Northern's parent company, said: “We believe that this is the best way to say sorry for the unacceptable situation and for the disruption and inconvenience many passengers have faced.
"We have been working hard with Network Rail and The Department for Transport to develop this scheme to help customers who have suffered in these exceptional circumstances.
"There is still a lot of work to be done. We are now looking at the finer details of the scheme and will announce further details as soon as possible."
Mr Brown added: "We already offer a Delay Repay scheme to compensate customers for trains that are late or cancelled and as a result get to their destination station more than 30 minutes later than scheduled. We’d urge affected customers to use Delay Repay.
"To further support customers, we’ve reached an agreement with other rail operators that until July 29, customers with tickets to travel on Northern will be able to travel on services provided by other rail operators if they are unable to complete their journey due to delays or cancellations.”
Northern's current compensation scheme offers a single ticket anywhere along its network or a 50 per cent refund in lieu of services delayed between 30 and 59 minutes.
This rises to two return tickets anywhere on the network or a 100 per cent refund for passengers delayed for two hours of more.
Further details of Northern's existing Delay Repay scheme can be found www.northernrailway.co.uk/corporate/compensation-information or by picking up an application form available at all stations.