AS with most things in life, there are upsides and downsides.

I’ve had a fairly major change to my life in recent weeks and it brought a massive upside – I don’t have to take on Warrington’s horrendous rush hour traffic.

Believe me when I say I used to work not much more than a couple of miles from where I live, and on some days it would have been quicker to walk than try to drive across Bridge Foot during the morning rush hour.

Of course, there is now a down side – I’ve started working in Manchester.

That left me with a stark choice.

I can either drive to Manchester city centre or I can get the train.

Now I’m no stranger to working in and around Manchester.

Several years ago, I had a job in an office just off Oxford Street but it was a strange kind of job.

I didn’t need to start work until mid-morning and left for home an hour or so after the evening rush hour, so driving seemed to be the way to go.

There was a car park next door to the office and the cost of a day’s parking compared favourably with the cost of the train fare.

So I drove and was happy to do so.

Many years later, my employment took me to an office in Sale, which was OK to drive to, but it later transferred a couple of miles down the road to Old Trafford, very close to Lancashire County Cricket Club.

It was a disaster – the office was on one of the main routes into the city centre and could get congested for hours in the morning.

And then we had the joyous nights when Manchester United were playing at home.

In all honesty, if I didn’t get away from the office by 3.30pm at the latest, I was basically stuck there until after kick-off.

But that’s in the past, and to some extent I can consider myself fortunate that my new office is in Manchester city centre and is no more than a 10 minute walk from both Oxford Road and Piccadilly stations.

So having discounted going by car (I have absolutely no desire to take on the traffic jams again and the insanely expensive cost of parking), I have resigned myself to going by train.

Theoretically, this should be just fine – I have to get up a little earlier in the morning, which is a bit of a pain, but when I checked the Warrington Central to Manchester timetable, I was happy to see there are three trains that theoretically will get me to the city in time for work.

But here’s the problem, two of those services are run by Northern Rail.

Now I know things aren’t as bad as they were at the height of the changed timetable fiasco but even so, it’s not good.

Northern has made great play about the much-hated and reviled pacer carriages being replaced with modern trains, but that counts for nothing when Northern indulges in what’s known in the trade as short-forming.

There’s a commuter train due out of Central for Oxford Road at about 7.40am.

It’s a popular and well-used service and should have four carriages.

In the limited time I’ve been commuting, the most I’ve seen it have is three – which means by the time Warrington’s commuters have got on, it’s full and still has two more stops before Manchester.

It’s overcrowded and dangerous.

And on at least one occasion, it turned up with just two carriages.

It was so full, half of the passengers at Warrington couldn’t physically get on it and had to wait for the stopper, which was also dangerously overcrowded.

In all honesty, I haven’t had a good journey either to or from Manchester since I changed jobs.

Frankly, we deserve better and if Northern can’t provide a proper, safe and efficient service, perhaps it’s time the government started looking for another company that can.