New start for Northern passengers as Northern Trains Ltd begins operating

155346 approaching Ferriby with a Bridlington to York service - Storm Ciara
Northern's 155346 approaching Ferriby with a Bridlington to York service // Credit: Bradley Langton

Today marks a new start for rail passengers in the North, as the Government has taken over the operation of the Northern franchise.

To demonstrate its commitment to rebuilding confidence, the operator has launched a new panel to provide advice on how services will be run. Political leaders, including Andy Burnham from Manchester and Judith Blake from Leeds, will be joined by regional leaders, passenger representatives and industry leaders on the panel. The panel will be led by Chairman of the operator, Richard George.

Overcrowding on the Northern network will be a focus for the operator, with new technology being trialled to identify overcrowding points.

Work has started to extend platforms at 30 stations across the network to allow for longer trains for passengers.

A significant in-depth cleaning program has also commenced today, along with an overhaul of on-board cleanliness.

What did the officials say?

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:

“This is new era for rail in the North, but there will be no quick fix for the network as we build solutions for the future.

“Today marks the beginning of rebuilding of trust in these services, and voices from the region will be essential as we work together to understand and deliver the improvements passengers need.

“Our aim is to give the North of England more powers over their railways, restoring the confidence of passengers and delivering a network they can truly rely on.”

Chairman of the Government’s operator, Richard George said:

“The panel announced today will play a crucial strategic role as we look to transform services across Northern’s network, putting the needs of passengers first.

“By collaborating with local leaders, we’re taking a step towards reconnecting the railways with the people of the North. We need to improve performance and also provide passengers and their elected representatives with the confidence that their concerns are being addressed.”

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  1. I hope that government owned Northern Trains can do a better job than Arriva Northern Rail. 5 years will get them improving services, extra trains at peak times if needed, improvements to railway stations across its network, better customer service and hopefully to make the railway lines and services more reliable for the North of England that it needs. But best of luck DfT Northern Trains. Hope it goes all well for 5 years in operation.

    As always Goodbye Arriva Northern Trains. 2016-2020.


  2. The platform extensions were in progress before the changeover. This was tried at the time of privatisation. The DoT heralded projects started under BR as ‘benefits of privatisation’. Now they are trying the same with ‘benefits of nationalisation’.

  3. I’m Quite Glad the Railways round here in Yorkshire (As Well As the rest of the North) are at long-last brought under Government Control,

    I do hope this so-called Northern Trains Ltd is more of A Huge Improvement to the last Rail Franchise in Recent Years.

    Northern aren’t the only ones now under Government-Control, the ECML (LNER) are also under Government Control too.

    Furthermore, let’s hope there’s ”Less Confusions & Delays, More Bang-On-Time Success” Not to Mention, Hopeful Extra-Coaches to Ease Over-Crowding Aboard the Trains that this so-called ”Northern Trains Ltd” are going to Run and to Roam the Rails around most of Yorkshire and also into Lancashire and Greater Manchester too.

    I also think the title ”Northern Trains Ltd” is so far A Terrific Idea for A Title for What I Hope’ll Be A Freshly Improved Rail Success (for our Beloved County of Yorkshire, let alone the rest of the North of England).


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