Oldham MP backs calls for Northern Rail franchise to be terminated

Debbie Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, has backed calls by metro Mayors Andy Burnham and Steve Rotherham for the Northern Rail franchise to be terminated.

Debbie said: “Andy and Steve are absolutely right. The Northern Rail contract has been a failure in every possible sense with delayed and cancelled trains, new services not being delivered and the dreaded Pacer trains still in operation. 

"Local residents who use Greenfield station are consistently let down not only by Northern Rail but Transpennine Express too. They’ve had to cope with an average increase in rail fares of 3.1% this year at a time when there’s absolute chaos in our rail transport services in Greater Manchester as a whole. 

“I’ve already told Chris Grayling, in face to face meetings, that the franchises for Northern Rail and for TransPennine Express should be brought back into public ownership. The standard of rail travel they are providing for rail passengers is unacceptable. The IPPR North think tank has found that while the capital has seen a £326 per person increase in public spending, the North of England has seen an increase of just £146. These are shocking figures which continue to show the under investment in our local transport infrastructure."

Mrs Abrahams has also been campaigning to get better rolling stock and access for people with mobility issues at Greenfield station. She added: “Labour would take our railway back into public ownership as franchises expire, using savings to cap fares, and would upgrade and expand the rail network.

"Chris Grayling must act immediately by bringing this failed franchise to an end and supporting Transport for the North to deliver a modern, reliable and affordable railway network.”

Northern Trains, cropped

In a statement yesterday (Wednesday 29th May) the Department for Transport dismissed suggestions of stripping Northern of their franchise: “We have seen much needed improvements in Northern services since last year, with industry expert Richard George driving forward a recovery plan focused on reliable services.

“Alongside Transport for the North, who co-manage the franchise, our absolute priority is delivering the services that passengers expect and deserve.

“At a time when performance is improving and brand-new trains are being rolled out to replace the unpopular and dated Pacers, change could result in significant disruption. We see no reason at this stage to consider making changes to the franchise.”


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