The Government has from today,taken over the running of services across the Northern network, marking a new start for the future of the franchise.
Promising to work with local leaders, industry and passenger representatives , they have pledged to deliver a plan for improvements after first 100 days.
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, which will be led by Richard George, the chairman of the operator.
The Government has also announced that overcrowding on Northern’s network will be a priority focus for improvement, with new technology being trialled to identify crowding pinch points.
Work is underway to extend platforms at 30 stations across the network to allow for longer trains and improve journeys for passengers.
A major deep cleaning program has also commenced today, along with an overhaul of on-board cleanliness, to make sure carriages meet the high standards passengers deserve.
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.”
The Transport Secretary has tasked the operator with delivering a new vision for the North’s railways, restoring confidence for passengers and delivering tangible improvements, but has made clear that the complexity of the challenge means transformation will not take place overnight.