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Williams Must Recommend End of Northern Rail Franchise

29 December 2019

TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes has called for a Government backed review of Britain's railways to recommend the troubled Northern rail franchise returns to public control.

The comments come after a report from the group, Campaign for Better Transport, called for failing franchises such as Northern and South Western be scrapped.

Speculation has been growing about the future of Northern which has seen major problems since the widespread chaos across the North of England in the Spring of 2018.

Cancellations remain commonplace - in October fewer than half the company’s services ran on time - and in recent weeks new timetables have sparked further problems.

Keith Williams, who’s heading a review of Britain’s railways will shortly report to the Government on his findings.

Cortes is urging him to recommend an end to the Northern Arriva franchise – and advocates ongoing “stress tests” for franchises across the board.

Cortes said: “this is a welcome report because it’s not pulling punches. The franchise model has failed and Northern just happens to be the worst of a bad bunch.

“The Government can’t go on looking the other way armed only with sticking plasters.

“I recently met Keith Williams and told him this face to face. Mr Williams has a golden opportunity to improve the lives of millions across the North by telling (Transport Secretary) Grant Shapps that the game is up and Northern must return to public control.

“Frankly that is the only way to turn this mess around and create a system which works for passengers rather than profiteers.

“Ministers need to understand that our railways are key to unlocking the potential of our country far outside London.

“The problems at Northern must be dealt with as a matter of priority – but Shapps should now apply stress tests to other franchises.

“If they are failing to provide a good daily service as well deliver on the environmental, social and economic benefits to communities then they must come into public control without delay.” 

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