Lancashire to benefit in franchise battle

The announcement that new franchises for rail services across the north will see significant investment resulting in better connections, faster journeys and more room for passengers on peak-time trains has been welcomed by Lancashire county councillors.

Monday, 2nd March 2015, 6:22 am
Changes: Invitations to tender for the franchises are to go out

Rail North, representing local transport authorities across the region, has worked with the Department for Transport to publish a new invitation to tender for the Northern and Transpennine franchises to start on 1 April 2016.

The Northern franchise will run for nine years with the option of a one year extension.

The TransPennine franchise will run for seven years with the option of a two year extension.

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Coun John Fillis, Lancashire County Council cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “I warmly welcome the publication today of the Invitation to Tender (ITT) documents for the Northern and Trans Pennine franchises.

“The county council has worked hard in partnership with councils right across the region through Rail North and the DfT to develop an investment-led specification that should deliver significantly improved train services over the period of the new franchises.

“For Lancashire this should mean investment in new and refurbished rolling stock, better train services that take advantage of the investment in the Northern Hub and associated electrification schemes, improved facilities at stations and increased funding for Community Rail Partnerships.

“Officers have already had a positive dialogue with bidders for the two franchises and this will continue to ensure they fully take into account Lancashire’s needs.”

Under the plans, it is proposed to replace outdated Pacer trains; introduce a brand new fleet of modern trains; tackle crowding; invest in stations; and add over 200 new train services every day across both franchises.

Meanwhile, Lancashire motorists have been warned about ongoing roadworks including:

*Pinch widening at the M6 Junction 32 Broughton Interchange – narrow lanes, plus some overnight slip road and carriageway closures until the project is completed.

*M6 Junction 35 Carnforth – where a scheme is taking place to install four electronic message signs and CCTV cameras.

Lane one of the motorway will be closed during the work, and lane two will also be closed overnight towards the end of the project, which is due to finish by the end of March.