Franchise Continuation for Northern Rail

9th May 2012

Franchise Continuation for Northern Rail asset 1

Northern Rail has welcomed news that the Department for Transport (DfT) has granted a continuation of its Northern Franchise.  This means Northern will continue to operate local and regional rail services across the north of England until 1 April 2014.

Ian Bevan, Managing Director, Northern Rail said: “We are delighted that the Department for Transport has chosen to confirm this continuation.  Since we began operating in 2004 we have worked hard to improve the service we offer our customers.  Confirming the continuation now means we can continue this work, focusing on the areas we know matter to our customers.

Since its franchise began Northern has:

- delivered a more punctual and reliable railway; increasing the number of trains arriving on time from 83.7% to 91.9%

- attracted 40% growth in passenger demand and worked with industry partners to introduce more carriages to ease overcrowding

- against a specification of a ‘no growth, no investment’ franchise, Northern’s stakeholders and shareholders, Serco and Abellio, have invested over £130million to make things better. This includes, additional carriages, new stations, improvements to existing station facilities and employee accommodation.

Over the coming months Northern will be improving the cleanliness of trains by upgrading the washing plants at depots. This will support significant changes to the cleaning regime on its trains. 

Ian Bevan continued: “We’ll be improving the ticket office, waiting rooms and toilet facilities at a number of stations. We’re also working with partners to install more customer information screens (CIS) at stations, making sure passengers get accurate information about how their train is running.”

Northern’s franchise was originally due to end on 15 September 2013, after it had already secured a two-year extension in 2010 for improving the punctuality and reliability of its services.  The Franchise Agreement contained a clause for the DfT to grant a franchise continuation of up to seven reporting periods, which it has chosen to do.