Sheffield City Region mayor welcomes nationalisation of Northern rail franchise

The decision to nationalise the ailing Northern rail franchise following years of delays, disruption and passenger anger has been welcomed by Sheffield City Region mayor, Dan Jarvis.

Friday, 31st January 2020, 4:56 pm

The franchise, which runs many services across South Yorkshire, will be renationalised and renamed Northern Trains from March 1.

Arriva, who ran the Northern service, said they ‘understand’ the Government’s position but blamed ‘external factors’ for their demise.

The news has been welcomed by Sheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis who called for more investment in transport to level the north/south divide.

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Sheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis has welcomed the government's decision to nationalise the Northern rail franchise

Mayor Jarvis said: “For too long, passengers in the north have been let down by delayed, overcrowded, and expensive rail services. Although I welcome the announcement by the Government, much more will need to be done to address the challenges we face with our railways in the north.

“The overriding priority must be to ensure passengers have reliable rail services. To see real change and restore passenger confidence, in what has been an unacceptably poor transport system, significant investment is needed in infrastructure across the North – where spending is still a fraction of that in London and the South-East.

“That’s why I’m calling for Government to commit to a sustained programme of investment in our public transport system. As a priority, they need to work closely with Northern leaders on the operator of last resort arrangement; focus investment on shovel-ready schemes that ensure passengers see the benefits sooner rather than later.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the network was ‘complex’ and was ‘not going to be quick to put right’ but added he was ‘determined’ passengers will see ‘tangible improvements as soon as possible’.

Arriva, who are based in Germany, had been due to run Northern for another five years.

Chris Burchell, managing director at Arriva UK Trains said: “A new plan is needed that will secure the future for Northern train services. As such, we understand Government’s decision.

“I would like to recognise the hard work of the 6,000 strong team at Northern who have worked tirelessly over the last four years to deliver improvements to local rail services in the North.”