As expected, rail services on routes operated by Northern are to be brought under public control. Transport secretary Grant Shapps has said he wants passengers to see “real and tangible improvements across the network as soon as possible”.
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 1 March.
— We Own It (@We_OwnIt) 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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