Passengers' needs must be at heart of re-nationalised Northern rail services, says Transport Secretary

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has visited the north to talk to leaders about his 100 day action plan to improve train services.

Friday, 31st January 2020, 5:00 pm

He said the priorities of passengers, political leaders and businesses across the North must be at the heart of the new public-sector operator.

It follows years of train delays and cancellations under Northern's rule, partially caused by track, signal and electrification upgrades over-running and lack of sufficient drivers and the delay in receiving new trains from the Spanish manufacturer CAF.

On Wednesday, January 29, he announced that Arriva Rail North will have its franchise removed from March 1, when the Government will take over running services on the Northern network via an operator of last resort.

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Grant Shapps

He was visiting the Network Rail Operations Centre in York to talk to staff to discuss the challenges of operating the UK’s largest signalling centre. He was joined by Richard George, one of the leaders of the incoming public-sector operator

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “The new public-sector operator has been tasked with delivering a new vision for the north’s railways, restoring confidence for passengers and delivering tangible improvements.

“Meeting with local leaders, there is clear agreement that the priorities of passengers must form the foundations for the 100-day action plan I have requested.

“There are no quick fixes, but this is an important step towards a new future where the North takes back control of its railways.”

He also reiterated his thanks to the staff of Northern and Network Rail, recognising their dedication, hard-work and commitment to serving passengers.