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TSSA Welcomes Northern Rail Move Into Public Hands

29 January 2020

TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has welcomed the announcement from the Government that the Northern rail franchise is to be taken into public ownership.

In a written statement to Parliament Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, confirmed that the operator – which runs services across the North including from Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and York, as well as Cumbria - would come into public ownership from 1st March.

Manuel Cortes said: “I’m glad that at last Grant Shapps has agreed with our union that the Northern franchise has run out of rail. The only question is – what took him and this Tory government so long at act?

“It was clear even before the timetabling chaos across the North of England in 2018 that Northern was a basket case.

“Since then things have gone backwards, cancellations remain commonplace, with few services running on time and of late we’ve seen another spate of timetabling problems.

“It’s time the government understood that the franchising of our railways – while stuffing the mouths of shareholders with gold - has completely failed.

“No doubt we are likely to be here again in the not too distant future, with the Department for Transport recently indicating that South Western Railway is not sustainable in the long-term.

“The Northern announcement is further confirmation that the taxpayer, as so-called Operator of Last Resort, is actually the Operator of First Choice. Public railways are hugely popular with passengers and this Tory government would do well to listen to those voices.

“Frankly the only way to turn this mess around is to create a system in our country which works for passengers rather than profiteers right across the board. That means ending the Frankenstein experiment of private railways once and for all.”

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