New franchises will not deliver for the north

09 December 2015

The government has announced the award of the Northern rail franchise to Arriva Rail North and the TPE franchise to First TransPennine Express. Both franchises will be run by the devolved rail body Rail North.

Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, said: ‘Rail is vital to boosting economic growth and creating new jobs in the north of England so I am disappointed that the new franchises offer so little ambition or vision to deliver desperately needed new rail capacity for the region.’

He added: ‘I’m concerned that cuts will simply be devolved and that the Labour local authority-led Rail North will be forced to implement fare increases and job cuts determined by a Conservative government at Westminster.

‘Two decades of experience has demonstrated that rail franchising is nothing more than an expensive game of musical chairs. Northern’s new owners will simply send back their profits to subsidise rail in Germany. The people responsible for the record growth of rail in the last two decades are the hardworking and professional staff across the industry. Not the privatised business model.’

Mick concluded: ‘Today’s announcement is a reminder that the government’s strategy for the railways offers nothing new. If you are on a busy train today you will be on an even busier train in ten years’ time. Passengers in the north deserve better.’

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