TRAIN operator Northern is to be stripped of its franchise to run services over the “nightmare” inflicted on passengers.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is to begin legal action against Northern — despite its contract not due to expire until March 2025.
Northern Rail will be stripped of its franchise after chaotic new timetables and cancelled trains[/caption]
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is to begin legal action against Northern[/caption]
The chaotic introduction of new timetables in May 2018 saw up to 310 Northern trains a day cancelled.
Mr Shapps said passengers have “had a nightmare on that line” since 2016.
Asked if Northern, owned by German-based Arriva, will be stripped of the franchise, he replied: “The simple answer to the question is yes, it is going to be brought to an end.
“It’s partially a legal process but frustrated commuters will not have to wait long.”
Office of Rail and Road figures show just 55.6 per cent of Northern trains arrived at stations within one minute of the timetable in the year to December 7, compared with the UK average of 65.3.
Department for Transport officials yesterday suggested that Northern — whose network runs from Newcastle to Leeds, Liverpool, Hull, Manchester and Stoke — could get a new shorter contract to improve services.
But Kate Anstee, of Northern Resist, said commuters will be “incredulous” if that happened.
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Northern said it has faced challenges outside its “direct control” such as infrastructure upgrades running behind schedule.
At the same time, West Midlands mayor Andy Street reiterated he will demand West Midlands Trains has its franchise removed unless services improve by the end of the month.
It comes amid fury as fares across Britain yesterday rose by an average of 2.7 per cent.
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