Economy

Northern Rail brought back under government control

Northern Rail brought back under government control”

Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA WireGrant Shapps said he wants passengers to see "real and tangible improvements across the network as soon as possible".

Shapps added: "The railways were invented in the North".

"The railways were invented in the North of England and past year the Prime Minister promised that we would give the railway back to the places it was born". But today's welcome move by ministers is only the start of fixing the North's railways. We just need a capital investment of between £20m and £30m to secure the rolling stock, improve the railway platforms and transform the crossings and, if necessary, sound proofing at one or two points along the track.

"Difficult decisions will be needed as we move forward,"
but they should be taken with the involvement of Northern leaders - those closest to the passengers - and they must not prevent the delivery of what has been previously agreed".

This will be a top to bottom review of everything from operational management, to rostering patterns and, most critically, customer experience, to make sure the Government leave no stone unturned in improving this franchise for passengers.

'There will be no more leaving behind.

"The government must now commit to investing in much-needed rail infrastructure and. build the modern transport network that the people of our region deserve".

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he would terminate the franchise with Northern, part of the Arriva group owned by German firm Deutsche Bahn, from March 1.

It has been in the firing line following the chaotic introduction of new timetables in May 2018, which saw hundreds of its daily services cancelled.

The Government is also reiterating that the decision "in no way reflects" on the staff of Northern.

More news: World Health Organization says prepare for local coronavirus outbreaks; China slams USA control

Ending his statement, Burchell outlined his support of the new ownership and thanked the employees of Northern: "We recognise, however, that overall service improvements have not come quickly enough, and passengers deserve better".

"The service provided by the rail network in the north has failed to meet the needs of passengers".

Following years of disruption, the troubled rail company Northern is to be brought under government control.

It brought in an operator of last resort to run the East Coast line in June 2018, now run as LNER after Virgin Trains East Coast ran into similar trouble.

For many people who have faced repeated delays travelling on Northern trains, the news is welcomed. The only question is - what took him and this Tory government so long to act? For far too long, we've put up with endless delays and cancellations on Northern. Since then, things have gone backwards'.

Mick Cash, General Secretary of Britain's largest rail union RMT, said: "Northern has become a signal for everything that is wrong on Britain's broken, privatised railways and the fact that the Government have now been forced to take this action today will open the floodgates towards wholesale public ownership of our railways as other franchises fall like dominoes or simply choose to cut and run in the face of the inevitable".

Nevertheless, Northern's service did not fully recover.

He said: "The late delivery of new rolling stock, the cancellation by the Conservative government of infrastructure upgrades, trying to run a service with too few drivers - can not be remedied overnight".

"In a joint statement, Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, and Mayor of Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram, said: "[The] news is a victory for passengers who have had to endure nearly two years of misery and mayhem on Northern Rail.



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