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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