Franchise agreement extended for Northern
May 23, 2012
Northern Rail has been granted a continuation of its Northern franchise, originally due to end in September 2013. It will now continue to operate local and regional rail services across the north of England until 1 April 2014.
Responding to the news, Ian Bevan, managing director, Northern Rail said: ‘We are delighted that the Department for Transport has chosen to confirm this continuation.’
During the life of the current franchise Northern has improved punctuality, increasing on-time arrivals from 83.7 to 91.9 per cent. It has also seen 40 per cent growth in passenger demand, with more carriages to ease overcrowding; and £130m investment from franchise owners Serco and Abellio for improvements, against a specification of a ‘no growth, no investment’ franchise.
Upgraded cleanliness of trains, plus improved ticket office, waiting room and toilet facilities at a number of stations are promised soon.
‘We’re also working with partners to install more customer information screens at stations, making sure passengers get accurate information about how their train is running,’ said Bevan.