Government to put Northern rail services into public ownership

Rail services on routes operated by Northern are to be brought under public control, the Transport Secretary has announced.

Grant Shapps said he wants passengers to see “real and tangible improvements across the network as soon as possible”.

RAIL Northern
(PA Graphics)

Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the TSSA transport union, welcomed the decision but claimed it is time the Government understood that “franchising of our railways, while stuffing the mouths of shareholders with gold, has completely failed”.

The Government-controlled Operator of Last Resort (OLR) will take over the Northern franchise on March 1.

TSSA General Secretary @Manuel_TSSA has welcomed the announcement from the Government that the #northern rail franchise is to be taken into public ownership from match 1st, describing it as a "basket case".https://t.co/AZqsaW9v4Rpic.twitter.com/2VyJ6CBDrN

— TSSA (@TSSAunion) January 29, 2020

The chaotic introduction of new timetables in May 2018 saw hundreds of Northern trains a day cancelled.

Punctuality and reliability problems continue to blight the network.

German-based Arriva was due to run Northern until March 2025.

The OLR already runs services on the East Coast Main Line under the LNER brand, following the failure of the Virgin Trains East Coast franchise.

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