Latest Rail News

23.05.18

Grayling promises to tackle Northern failures with clear performance plan

The government has outlined formal plans to improve the poor-performing Northern Rail, transport secretary Chris Grayling announced today.

Improving driver recruitment and ensuring there are enough to cover demand, increasing driver training on new routes, introducing additional contingency drivers in Manchester, and putting extra peak services in the timetable spanning across the north west are amongst the plans outlined by Grayling and rail minister Jo Johnson.

Johnson will be holding talks with Transport for the North (TfN) chief executive Barry White and Manchester mayor Andy Burnham, who slammed the TOC’s performance last week. Grayling will be holding a teleconference with northern leaders tomorrow to discuss how to move forward.

The secretary of state said: “Improving the service for Northern customers is the number one performance priority for my department and we will work with the industry to keep disruption at a minimum.”

Grayling added that the government is delivering the “most comprehensive and significant modernisation” of the rail network since the Victorian era.

“Introducing new services, providing passengers with faster journeys and delivering more seats will be part of this essential transformation – but the level of disruption that passengers have experienced in the north is unacceptable,” the transport secretary admitted.

Johnson, the rail minister, also commented: “Passengers have been disrupted and there is concern about performance among people who use the railway. I have spoken with the chief executive of TfN and the mayor of Greater Manchester to underline our absolute commitment to improving performance for passengers.

“We are working closely with train companies to drive down cancellations, and will support Network Rail and the wider industry in delivering these significant improvements.

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