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Government to Take Control of Northern From March 2020

Northern has had its fair share of problems but from March 1 2020, the government will take control following the announcement from Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

Following years of significant disruptions, the government have called it unacceptable and has acknowledged that passengers have suffered for too long, ultimately losing their trust in the rail network in the north.

The May timetable changes in 2018 caused problems for Northern and passengers who have used the rail franchise have suffered from constant delays and cancellations to services.

A letter was sent to Parliament from Mr Shapps explaining the decisions and it stated: “Wherever you live, you deserve a railway that widens your children’s horizon, gives you access to highly-skilled, highly paid jobs, and provides a viable green alternative to getting in your car.

“For too long, millions of rail passengers in the north of England have not had that. They have had to start and end their working day facing cancellations and delays. Some stations, particularly on Sundays, have been left without trains for hours on end.

“It’s no surprise that passengers have lost trust in the north’s rail network. The service provided by the rail network in the north has failed to meet the needs of passengers. People across the north deserve better, their communities deserve better and I am determined to achieve that.”

So, from March 1 2020, the Northern franchise will be controlled by the public sector operator which is also known as the operator of last resort, all of which is owned completely by the Department for Transport. As it currently stands, the operator already owns and controls another franchise in the UK, East Coast which is known as London North Eastern Railway (LNER). Since it took over operating the service 19 months ago, customer satisfaction has increased considerably and so Mr Shapps has stated that this is a new beginning for Northern. However, he also made it clear that there is a lot of work to be done if they are to put things right and that it won’t be a quick fix. Despite this, the determination is clear to see as they aim to turn things around and give passengers a service they can be proud of once again.

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