Latest Rail News

13.06.18

Northern leaders warn travel chaos could continue unless TfN handed more powers

Northern business and council leaders have called for the government to grant Transport for the North (TfN) full powers to manage all northern infrastructure.

In an open letter published by the Sunday Times, the group warned the government that without greater authority, TfN would not be able to supervise the delivery of the north’s strategic transport plan or avoid repeats of the current “fiasco” in the future.

The letter, signed by most northern council leaders, comes after the north has suffered weeks of travel chaos following a major timetable shake-up – which has reportedly led to travellers missing vital appointments and receiving written warnings at work, while businesses have “struggled to cope” and public services have been put under strain.

But even when things return to normal, the letter’s authors are concerned that the railways across the Northern Powerhouse region are not good enough to attract investment and increase productivity at the required pace.

“By the time of this autumn’s Budget, we want the government to commit itself to implementing the TfN’s Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) strategic outline business case in full, guaranteeing that northern businesses will secure growth and our children can use a fit-for-purpose modern rail network,” they said.

They have also called on the government to work with Northern Rail to establish a comprehensive passenger compensation scheme now.

Although he did not sign this letter, Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham recently wrote to the transport secretary to demand substantial compensation, which Chris Grayling eventually caved to.

Yesterday, Transport Focus also set out demands on behalf of passengers that had suffered following the timetable changes. The watchdog argued that existing compensation schemes do not reflect the difficulties that passengers have been experiencing on Thameslink, Great Northern and Northern over recent weeks.

Chief executive of Transport Focus, Anthony Smith, said: “We’ve heard from people who have been unable to get into work, a heavily pregnant woman stuck on a coach for hours, someone unable to visit their elderly parent – all because they are unable to rely on the train.”

Pressing the industry to make it clear how it will go beyond Delay Repay payouts, he added: “We want train companies to spell out, as soon as possible, how they will compensate those affected. Meanwhile we urge all passengers to claim what they can now and send a strong message to operators that this level of service is unacceptable.”

The watchdog is demanding for season ticket-holders to receive a lump sum to reflect the hardship experienced and for recognition of the impact on regular travellers who do not buy season tickets. It is also calling for special offers to rebuild trust once services have returned to normal and for Northern to adopt a 15-minute delay trigger rather than 30 minutes.

Next week, Transport Focus’ board will meet in public in Manchester to quiz the managing directors of Northern and TransPennine on the disruption.

Northern capacity, including NPR and other major plans for the region, will be widely discussed at this year’s TransCityRail Conference, set to be opened by TfN’s NPR director Tim Wood.

Top image: LBC PA Wire PA Images

 

Enjoying RTM? Subscribe here to receive our weekly news updates or click here to receive a copy of the magazine!

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Cross-party calls for Glasgow airport rail link to be delivered ‘as matter of urgency’

22/01/2019Cross-party calls for Glasgow airport rail link to be delivered ‘as matter of urgency’

The proposed rail link between Glasgow Airport and the city centre must be built “as a matter of urgency,” according to opposition pa... more >
Rail company in bid to build multi-million-pound rail depot near Ipswich station

22/01/2019Rail company in bid to build multi-million-pound rail depot near Ipswich station

Rail company Freightliner has revealed that it is hoping to build a new multi-million pound depot for its trains just outside Ipswich station. ... more >
Porterbrook awards £11m contract to modify new digital Heathrow Express fleet

22/01/2019Porterbrook awards £11m contract to modify new digital Heathrow Express fleet

Porterbrook has unveiled a £11m contract with Bombardier to modify 12 Class 387 trains in preparation for their use on the Heathrow Express... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

22/01/2019TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

Peter Molyneux, Transport for the North’s (TfN’s) strategic roads director, has been leading on the development of the seven economic... more >
Exclusive: Midlands Connect and WMRE talk collaboration and investment in the Midlands' railway

22/01/2019Exclusive: Midlands Connect and WMRE talk collaboration and investment in the Midlands' railway

In the jigsaw puzzle of regional transport decision-making, there must be collaboration and compromise. Midlands Connect media lead James Bovill ... more >
Rail Ombudsman interview: RTM sits down with CEO Kevin Grix

20/12/2018Rail Ombudsman interview: RTM sits down with CEO Kevin Grix

In November, the first ever Rail Ombudsman was established in a bid to give passengers a free independent service to allow passengers to claim co... more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. ... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Trashing the 'ticket' train of thought

22/01/2019Trashing the 'ticket' train of thought

techUK recently published its Future Mobility Services report in which it presented its vision of a multimodal, digitally-enabled, and customer-f... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

ORBIS: Turning track data into intelligence

22/01/2019ORBIS: Turning track data into intelligence

Track engineer Dan Collins explains how an app and an iPad are transforming track maintenance in Network Rail’s Western route. Carryin... more >
Siemens Deep Tube: Keeping London moving

22/01/2019Siemens Deep Tube: Keeping London moving

Paul Baines, sales director for rolling stock at Siemens Mobility Ltd, expands on the many benefits of the £1.5bn Deep Tube rolling stock c... more >
Guarding against the theft of survey equipment

22/01/2019Guarding against the theft of survey equipment

The high value of survey equipment used to collect geospatial data on the railways is increasingly attractive to opportunistic criminals. The Sur... more >
ORR: Defining an 'efficient' railway

15/01/2019ORR: Defining an 'efficient' railway

Ahead of CP6, Howard Taylor, cost manager of railway planning and performance at the ORR, dives deep into the regulator’s assessment of wha... more >