TfN calls on government to allow operators to negotiate on rest day working

Lord McLoughlin, Chair of Transport for the North, has today called on the government to urgently intervene to help end the current unacceptable levels of performance on the rail network in the North of England.

Services provided by the main operators Avanti West Coast (AWC), Northern and Transpennine Express (TPE) have been of a poor quality for far too long now.

In the middle of summer, 62% of Northern services arrived on time and only 54% of TPE services. Recent figures available to TfN show there’s been little improvement with 64% of Northern services arriving on time and only 57% of TPE services. In July, only 60% of Avanti (Euston to Manchester) services arrived on time, and despite moving to a one train per hour service in August, just 72% of Avanti (Euston to Manchester) services arrived on time last month.

TfN is calling for a ‘Rail Academy of the North’ to be set up to fast-track the training of new drivers to help address the systemic problem and to further use the current devolved structures such as the Rail North Partnership Board (RNPB) by giving it the flexibility to work with the North’s train operators to solve the Rest Day Working issue whilst continuing to hold the operators to account for delivery.

Lord McLoughlin, Chair of Transport for the North, said:

“The current situation on the North’s rail network is simply unacceptable. It’s completely inexcusable that communities in the North of England are having to experience such a dire level of service. It requires an urgent intervention as it’s undermining businesses and holding back economic growth.

“At present, one operator TPE, has two in every five trains not arriving on time and it’s becoming the new normal on a network with far too many trains being cancelled; and too many cancelled at short notice causing chaos for commuters and local communities.

“We want to see the operators given the freedom to negotiate a solution to Rest Day Working by themselves, and for a ‘Rail Academy for the North’ to be fast-tracked, and for current devolved structures, such as the Rail North Partnership Board, to be strengthened and play a bigger role working with our partners across the North.”