Northern Rail franchise extended to 2014

Northern RailGood news for Northern Rail franchise-holders Serco and Abellio, who have had their franchise extended by the DfT until 1st April 2014. The holding company, which made a pre-tax profit of £40.1 million last year thanks to the DfT grant of £339 million, was originally contracted to run the franchise until 2011, before gaining an earlier two-year extension to September 2013. The company’s Twitter account has become a veritable Pandora’s Box, with passengers venting their annoyance with services every day, but you can help improve it by filling out this survey on social media.

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About James McCollom

Web geek and public transport user
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13 Responses to Northern Rail franchise extended to 2014

  1. Chri Amos says:

    Nederlands Spoorwegen will be happy then (owners of Abellio) :-) Now if we could only have some of their double deckers and new super-sprinters operating here!!!!

  2. Oh I dunno, the ;unacceptable tweets from Andy are rather funny.
    On a serious note, that presumably will mean TPE is finishing early instead of being extended till March 2015 as of know.

  3. Shaun says:

    Well, it has been suggested that the Northern Rail franchise would be split into two, G.Manchester, Lancashire, Cheshire, Merseyside and Cumbria on one side, Yorkshire and the North East on the other with the TransPennine Express franchise also merged into the two franchises.

    Things were shaken up in the Midlands a couple of years ago with Central Trains and Midland Mainline split up into London Midland, East Midlands Trains and CrossCountry, so the same could easily happen in the north in 2014/2015.

  4. Watcherzero says:

    More likely they will just merge them both and hive off a couple of the Scotland TPE routes to routes to X-Country or Virgin. While its already the largest franchise by number of services and passengers its heavily subsidised and not out of the question to enlarge it to beef up its financial performance as is the trend with other franchises.

  5. Trystan says:

    Northern have improved since gaining extra trains and I haven’t had much to complain about FirstTPE either. I do miss BR but can’t say NS or SNCF are doing a bad job.

    • James McCollom says:

      I set myself the goal not to blog about my own personal misadventures, but in my experience Northern’s performance this year has been atrocious.

  6. Michael Tinker says:

    I got the one from Huddersfield back to Greenfield yestaday and it was one of the long ones with tables in hardley anyone on it of to Blackpool tommorrow on train i have seen the ones on that service and they look posh

  7. Always worth adding the caveat that DfT let the Northern franchise on a ‘zero growth’ assumption, even resorting to sending out clipboard-wielding minions to count passengers on rural routes. Add to that the reality that no leasing company will fund DMUs any more (though TfL is trying to get more for Gospel Oak – Barking) and DfT rolling stock policy is a parody anyway, and to say Northern functions with one hand tied behind its back is understatement of the century.

    That said, I am sure that is no reassurance to those regulars using some of its services — I suspect its offer is weakest in areas where its predecessors were also weak. So the preponderance of knackered Pacers and noisy, ill-designed 150s around Manchester dent Northern’s rep, whilst the rural routes getting refurbished 158s probably feel a good deal happier. Add in too the knock-on effects of a vastly capacity constrained network (especially to the south of Manchester in the wake of the West Coast upgrading debacle) and it’s little surprise Northern gets a kicking sometimes. I do like their commitment to a proper livery/brand identity though, and their pro-Northern stance (eg. grassroots rugby league sponsorship).

    Personally I don’t see how Northern are any worse than FNW, ATN, Northern Spirit or North Western Trains back at the dawn of privatisation. Its woes are predominantly ‘whole industry’ issues.

  8. Grant says:

    Use Northern Trains everyday and its good news! never (well hardly) let me down! :-)

  9. Harry says:

    How do you think the 156 units are performing now they have been taken over by the new
    Allerton depot

  10. michael Tinker says:

    those 156s are good there was one on Huddersfield to Victroa today and it was packed also been on 150s to Blackpool not bad on that service does not get packed well not when i have been on

  11. Chris Schiele says:

    The Alderley Edge/Buxton/Crewe to Manchester service is appalling. Try out the service from Levenshulme on a weekday – 07:36/44, 08:11 service is always late and for the last 4/5 years hasn’t once added an additional carriage to deal with capacity issues. I have never had a seat and have to push in to actually get on the train.
    Throw in cancelled trains on a regular basis and fare increases for good measure.
    The Manchester Pic service to Glossop, particularly the 08:29 is another regular failure – late departures, cancellations along with a general apathy towards any sort of customer service. Any wonder they are referred to as Northern Fail.

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