Northern rail branded "completely unacceptable" by Transport Secretary

The Transport Secretary has told of plans to strip Northern rail of its franchise - describing its performance as "completely unacceptable".

Thursday, 2nd January 2020, 5:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 8th January 2020, 3:17 pm

Northern operates a service between Worksop and Sheffield - running over 40 trains a day on the route.

Grant Shapps’ comments came during an interview with the BBC - as the government announced an average fare rise of 2.7 per cent for train tickets from Thursday.

The rise will leave many commuters facing an increase of more than £100 for annual passes.

A Northern Rail train

Northern has been dogged by cancellations and late services - with many slamming its outdated pacer trains as not fit for purpose.

Mr Shapps told the Commons transport select committee in October he had begun the process of putting the Northern rail network back into public hands.

He told the committee how he had issued a ‘request for proposals’ from the company and the Operator of Last Resort.

This could lead to Northern's service being brought under government control.

The rail operator company has faced several issues in recent years - such as cancellations after the introduction of new timetables.

Northern’s managing director David Brown said the company had faced challenges outside its control in recent years.

One included the late delivery of major infrastructure projects such as the North West electrification.

Mr Brown told the BBC: "Arriva and Northern remain fully committed to delivering the transformation of the North's railways and improving customers' experience.

“We are delivering the biggest transformation of local rail for a generation."