Grant Shapps, the Government’s Transport Secretary has today signalled the end of the rail for Northern Rail.
He announced, ‘From 1 March, 2020 the Northern Rail franchise will be taken into public ownership and the Government will begin operating services through the public-sector operator.’
However he added this note of warning, ‘Northern’s network is huge and complex, some of the things which are wrong are not going to be quick or easy to put right.’
German-based Arriva had been due to run Northern until March 2025, but this announcement has come just one day after Northern Rail was branded Britain’s worst train operator. It received this appalling judgement from Transport Focus following a survey of 28,000 passengers who gave their verdict after suffering months of delays, cancellations and crowded trains.
One fed-up passenger complained: ‘Northern Rail really is abysmal. As a daily commuter I have been impacted by strikes, delays and cancellations more than I can count on both hands and feet! Not to mention sky high train fares and overcrowded filthy trains……’ Another said’ ‘Dirty interiors, late arrivals and severe overcrowding mainly due to there being just not enough carriages like some other services. It won’t be missed!’
Northern Rail’s services will, from 1st March 2020, transfer from Arriva Rail North to Northern Trains Limited, a newly formed subsidiary of the Department for Transport’s Operator of Last Resort (OLR).