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North of England rail franchises ‘only the start’, says Campaign for Better Transport

9 December 2015

Responding to the announcement of the new Northern Rail and Trans-Pennine Express franchises Stephen Joseph, Campaign for Better Transport’s Chief Executive, said:

“We strongly welcome the big upgrades to rail services in the north that these franchises are promising. In particular, the commitment to buy new trains, something we championed through our ‘Right Track North’ campaign, against strong opposition from Government officials. This is long overdue and passengers in the north will be pleased to hear they will no longer have to endure the 30 year old Pacer trains.

"The promise of extra services and better stations with more staff is also good news and we’re pleased that the ‘Rail North’ grouping of councils will get some control over the new franchises.

“However, this should only be the start. The north deserves a truly modern, electric rail network, with fast and frequent trains between the cities, London-style smartcards and integration with buses and other transport. We will keep up the pressure to make sure these commitments become reality and that the north gets the transport network it deserves, only then will the Government’s ‘Northern Powerhouse’ rhetoric really mean something.”


For further information please contact Richard Watkins on 020 7566 6494 / 07984 773 468 or richard.watkins@bettertransport.org.uk

Notes to Editors

  1. Campaign for Better Transport launched a “Right Track North” Charter last year in response to the Government’s consultation on the future of the Trans-Pennine and Northern rail franchises. The Right Track North charter is available here – it set out a number of ways of improving the railways in the north of England, many of which were accepted by the Government and included in the new franchises. The Right Track North campaign is spearheaded by Campaign for Better Transport and  supported  by organisations including the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, ASLEF union and Tyne Valley Line Rail User Group.
  2. The Transport Secretary had to issue a Ministerial direction to his officials to require them to include new trains in the Northern franchise. Officials claimed that replacing the Pacers was very poor value for money according to their standard economic assessments – see here and here.
  3. Campaign for Better Transport is the UK's leading authority on sustainable transport. We champion transport solutions that improve people's lives and reduce environmental damage. Our campaigns push innovative, practical policies at local and national levels. Campaign for Better Transport Charitable Trust is a registered charity (1101929).