North­ern Rail out on its ear


Daily Star - - NEWS - ■ by KATE NEL­SON kate.nel­

UN­DER fire train op­er­a­tor North­ern will have its con­tract ripped up, Trans­port Sec­re­tary Grant Shapps has vowed.

Af­ter years of shock­ing de­lays and timetable cock-ups, pas­sen­gers will “not have to wait long” be­fore ac­tion is taken, he de­clared.

The com­pany’s con­tract was due to run un­til March 2025.

Only 56% of North­ern trains ar­rived at sta­tions within one minute of the timetable in the 12 months to

De­cem­ber 7, Of­fice of Rail and Road fig­ures re­vealed. That is com­pared with the 65% av­er­age across Bri­tain.

The in­tro­duc­tion of new timeta­bles in May 2018 sparked travel may­hem.

When asked if North­ern should be stripped of its fran­chise, Mr Shapps said: “The sim­ple an­swer is yes, it is go­ing to be brought to an end. It’s par­tially a le­gal process but com­muters will not have to wait long.”

Depart­ment for Trans­port of­fi­cials did say North­ern could con­tinue to op­er­ate on a short-term con­tract.

IT’S just wrong. Mil­lions of rail pas­sen­gers have once again been stung by the an­nual fare price hikes. The 2.7% av­er­age rise fol­lows an­other hor­ren­dous 12 months of crip­pling de­lays, can­cel­la­tions and strikes. It’s the same shame­ful story ev­ery year. The ser­vice gets worse – yet fed-up com­muters are forced to fork out more and more. How can that be fair? If there is any jus­tice, clob­bered pas­sen­gers should be get­ting com­pen­sa­tion. Let’s be clear – our rail­ways would shame any ad­vanced na­tion. Other coun­tries man­age to get their trains to run on time. The French and Ger­man ser­vices are clean, re­li­able and fairly priced. You can even get a seat. And in Ja­pan they are so ef­fi­cient that rail firms have been forced to apol­o­gise for trains leav­ing too early. No chance of that hap­pen­ing here, though. At some sta­tions nearly half of all trains are late. The mis­ery will con­tinue un­til the Govern­ment sorts out this mess.

If that means state own­er­ship, then so be it.

IT’S OVER: Shapps’ rail vow

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