The Government has announced that it intends to award the Northern franchise to Arriva Rail North Ltd. and the TransPennine Express franchise to First Trans Pennine Express Ltd.
Rail journeys across the north of England and Scotland will undergo the biggest transformation in decades, thanks to an unprecedented package of improvements being delivered in new franchise deals, the government announced today (9 December 2015).
More than 500 brand-new carriages, the removal of the outdated and unpopular Pacer trains, room for 40,000 extra passengers at the busiest times, and more than 2,000 extra services a week will all be delivered.
The government has announced it intends to award the Northern franchise to Arriva Rail North Limited, and the TransPennine Express franchise to First Trans Pennine Express Limited. Together they will oversee a massive £1.2 billion boost to rail services with brand-new modern trains, more seats, more services and a host of improvements to deliver a modern, 21st century passenger experience – as well as playing a vital role in bringing the Northern Powerhouse to life, rebalancing the economy, creating jobs, opportunity and growth, and providing significantly better journeys across the region.
To read the full details of the announcement click the link here www.gov.uk/government/news and to read Patrick McLoughlin’s written statement to Parliament click here.
Rail North Ltd., who will jointly manage the new franchises with the Department for Transport, have issued a briefing note and this can be downloaded by clicking here.
The Association of Community Rail Partnerships (ACoRP) have also issued a statement and this can be downloaded by clicking here.
Clitheroe Line & East Lancashire CRPs
The Chairman of the joint Clitheroe Line & East Lancashire Community Rail Partnerships, James Syson, had this to say:
“Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council are delighted that today Arriva have been announced as the next franchise holder for the Northern Franchise. We are keen to ensure that this transformational award will benefit fully all the communities in Lancashire by introducing better quality modern and reliable trains, a more robust and connected timetable and improvements to local stations as soon as possible.
As part of Rail North we have worked very hard with the Department for Transport to ensure the best deal for the North was struck and Community Rail Lancashire can also be very proud in the role it has played in ensuring community rail features prominently within the franchise.”
Leeds, Lancaster & Morecambe CRP (The Bentham Line)
Gerald Townson, Chairman of the partnership said; “The Leeds-Lancaster-Morecambe Community Rail Partnership warmly welcomes the Government’s announcement that Arriva Trains Northern Ltd has been awarded the next Northern franchise. With the strong emphasis on Community Rail in the next franchise, we look forward to working with Arriva and will now press for all the timetable improvements to be introduced at the same time and as soon as is feasible.”
Gerald went on to add; “the partnership is particularly looking forward to founding and developing the concept of the newly proposed Community Rail Business Unit, to assist in the major improvements on the route.”