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Northern rail franchise under public ownership from today

Northern rail franchise under public ownership from today

Published by The Stray FM News Team at 11:12am 1st March 2020.

Previous operator Arriva have been stripped of the franchise after years of delays and cancellations.

  • The government have taken over the running of train services operated by Northern, with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps calling it 'a new era for rail in the North'.
  • But he warns there'll be 'no quick fix'.
  • Arriva, the previous operator, were in charge for almost four years, but that time was plagued with delays, cancellations and strikes.

The Government has today taken over the running of train services across the Northern network.

They replace Arriva, who'd operated the franchise for almost four years, but that period was marred by delays, cancellations and strikes.

The Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced back in January that the running of the franchise would come back into public hands.

The government operator has launched a new panel to provide ongoing advice on how services will be run. Political leaders, including Andy Burnham from Manchester and Judith Blake from Leeds, will be joined by regional leaders, passenger representatives and industry leaders on the panel, which will be led by Richard George, the chairman of the operator.

The Government has also announced that overcrowding on Northern’s network will be a priority focus for improvement, with new technology being trialled to identify crowding pinch points. Work is underway to extend platforms at 30 stations across the network to allow for longer trains and improve journeys for passengers. 

Capacity will be further boosted with the roll-out of more electric trains across the network next year, in addition to the extra capacity already being delivered by the new fleet. A major deep cleaning program has also commenced today, along with an overhaul of on-board cleanliness.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:

“This is new era for rail in the North, but there will be no quick fix for the network as we build solutions for the future.

“Today marks the beginning of rebuilding of trust in these services, and voices from the region will be essential as we work together to understand and deliver the improvements passengers need.

“Our aim is to give the North of England more powers over their railways, restoring the confidence of passengers and delivering a network they can truly rely on.”

Chairman of the government’s operator, Richard George said:

“The panel announced today will play a crucial strategic role as we look to transform services across Northern’s network, putting the needs of passengers first.

“By collaborating with local leaders, we’re taking a step towards reconnecting the railways with the people of the North. We need to improve performance and also provide passengers and their elected representatives with the confidence that their concerns are being addressed.”