Alan Williams

Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps took advantage of the media around the January fare rises to once again put the boot in to Northern, saying that the company was on a ‘final warning’ but also, in answer to questions, rather confusingly implying that he had already decided to remove Northern from the franchise.

It seems that the Department for Transport is proposing either to call in that increasingly well-known train operating company, the Operator of Last Resort, or to award a direct contract, and in either case possibly to split the present Northern franchise in two on a geographical basis, one each side of the Pennines, reverting to the position prior to the merging of North Western Trains and Regional Railways North East to form Northern Mk 1 back in 2004. Whether Arriva Rail North would be part of any of this remains to be seen.

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