Northern release statement on 100-day review

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Nick Donvan
Credit: Northern

Since being transfer to public ownership on the 1st March, Northern has been undertaking a 100-day review of the business.

The focus has been on restoring a full and reliable train service for passengers.

Obviously, when Northern was transferred to government ownership, no one had any idea what impact COVID-19 would have on the transport sector.

Northern is currently operating a near-full timetable, but with capacity greatly reduced.

Don’t travel by train unless you have to

Northern 158 at Skipton, where trains could run from Colne
Northern 158 at Skipton
Credit: Langton Photography

Statement from Nick Donovan, Managing Director:

“The impact of COVID-19 is one that we could never have possibly imagined. It has changed both the industry itself and public life as we know it. Despite the pandemic, the review has been delivered. Many of our employees and stakeholders have contributed to this review and I’d like to thank them for their unwavering focus and commitment to delivering positive changes for passengers, despite other unprecedented demands.

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

“Our immediate focus right now is on recovery from the pandemic and the restoration of a full and reliable train service whilst ensuring passengers can travel as safely as possible and our employees can work safely. COVID-19 has not changed our commitment to deliver a ‘new Northern’ that will deliver real and tangible improvements for passengers.

“We have already begun to deliver many improvements for our customers, including the recruitment of more staff, a full train cleaning programme and improvements to some stations. But of course, there remains much more to do to provide the modern, reliable service we want to deliver. We have prepared a range of analysis and proposals and we will be working with the Department for Transport, Rail North Partnership and wider stakeholders to continue to assess these.

Northern's 150201 arrives into Burnley Manchester Road
Northern’s 150201 arrives into Burnley Manchester Road // Credit: RailAdvent

“But the economic and financial impact of COVID-19 means that there remains much more to do to provide the modern, reliable service we want to deliver. We have prepared a range of analysis and proposals and will be working with the Department for Transport, Rail North Partnership and wider stakeholders to continue to assess these.

“To deliver the service passengers need, train and track must deliver as one railway. Our review is therefore closely aligned with the work of other industry partners such as Network Rail and the North West Performance Recovery Task Force and we will continue to work closely with them to progress plans to deliver a better functioning railway.

Northern 333
Credit: Dan Sutcliffe

“In the immediate future we will be working together to develop and deliver a new, performance-led timetable in December 2021. Timetable changes associated with this will be consulted on in the usual way.

“We hope to shortly update you further on our plans to transform the service, but until then we will be continuing to focus on getting the basics right – restoring reliability, increasing capacity and rebuilding trust in our organisation by providing services that all passengers can truly rely on.”

Northern 170 at Leeds
Credit: Dan Sutcliffe

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “It is absolutely right that the immediate focus of the Government’s operator is restoring normal service levels as the country begins the process of recovery from COVID-19.

“Northern has already begun its work of improving journeys for passengers and colleagues, including the deep cleaning of all trains, recruiting 85 more train cleaning staff, and delivering upgrades to some station facilities for both passengers and staff.

Northern Class 150 No. 150277 arrives into Nelson
Northern Class 150 No. 150277 arrives into Nelson // Credit: RailAdvent

“The impact of COVID-19 means we must prioritise the safety of passengers and staff. That means our focus right now must be reliability and increased capacity to enable safer travel with space for social distancing where possible.

“However, our ambition for a new Northern remains unchanged. We will continue working with the OLR and stakeholders across the North to rebuild trust, and rapidly deliver a network that passengers can truly rely on as we recover from COIVD-19.”

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Why not allow Northern to introduce more extra trains for County Durham, Northumberland, Cumbria, Lancashire, Teeside, Cleveland, Tyneside and Tyne & Wear. Which these areas in the Northwest and Northeast could have more extra trains with more extra seats for people to use. Once the lockdown has been lifted.

    And also LNER to introduce new services from London Kings Cross to Middlesbrough, Scarborough, Hartlepool, Saltburn, Redcar, Stockton, Battersby and Whitby.

  2. Been watching The Railway 24/7 and I have to say that both Northern and Transpennine Express have had lots of ups and downs in resent years of their rail franchising.

    And when the DfT took over the Northern franchise from DB Arriva earlier this year. Wonderful program. Goes to show how the railways in the North of England hasn’t been forgotten.

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