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

HS2 kicks off the bid race to build Curzon Street station

19/11/2018HS2 kicks off the bid race to build Curzon Street station

HS2 has announced the start of its search for contractors to build its new £435m Curzon Street station. Around four contractors will b... more >
A transport network ‘on its knees’ is slowly catching up in the north, says Grayling

16/11/2018A transport network ‘on its knees’ is slowly catching up in the north, says Grayling

Chris Grayling has said that rail in the north is playing catch-up from “decades of economic neglect” and that whilst improvements in... more >
Crossrail delay to mount up £200m in lost TfL revenue, London Assembly says

16/11/2018Crossrail delay to mount up £200m in lost TfL revenue, London Assembly says

Costs incurred by the lengthy delay to London’s Crossrail project could cost Transport for London (TfL) over £200m in lost revenue, L... 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

Finding positives in negative short-circuiting devices

09/11/2018Finding positives in negative short-circuiting devices

Sponsored interview  Anything that brings about safety and time-saving benefits is a valued improvement for the rail industry, which is w... more >
Taking to the skies

30/10/2018Taking to the skies

Network Rail’s commitment to driving innovation is best encapsulated by its latest scheme involving high-definition imagery drones, or UAVs... more >
Going global: an interview with Network Rail’s Leevan Finney

29/08/2018Going global: an interview with Network Rail’s Leevan Finney

RTM’s Jack Donnelly sat down with one of the leading minds behind Network Rail’s most advanced and innovative rail maintenance techno... 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

Elizabeth Line: short-term pain for long-term gain?

13/11/2018Elizabeth Line: short-term pain for long-term gain?

Tim Bellenger, director of policy and investigation at London TravelWatch, discusses the deferred opening of the central section of the Elizabeth... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

Challenging the perceptions of rail

13/11/2018Challenging the perceptions of rail

Darren Caplan, chief executive of the Rail Industry Association (RIA) explains how the RIA Rail Fellowship Programme is challenging people’... more >
Data-driven rail

13/11/2018Data-driven rail

Andy Cross, director of Elastacloud, and Lucy Bealing, from the Elastacloud Rail Centre of Excellence, discuss their innovative collaboration wit... more >
Looking ahead to the Williams Review

13/11/2018Looking ahead to the Williams Review

Darren Shirley, chief executive of the Campaign for Better Transport, takes a look at the government’s root and branch review of the rail s... more >
Digital Railway: All change on the ECML

06/11/2018Digital Railway: All change on the ECML

Network Rail route programme director, Toufic Machnouk, explains why only a radically new approach to contracting will deliver a better service f... more >