Local Mayors Want Northern Stripped of its Rail Franchise

By Gary Cutlack on at

The mayors of Greater Manchester and Liverpool have put aside their arguments about whether the Happy Mondays or The Farm were best in the early 1990s, and have come together to demand that the besieged and broken Northern Rail franchise is taken away from current holder Arriva and given to someone – anyone! – able to do a better job of managing some ageing rolling stock and an Excel document containing timetable information.

Steve Rotheram and Andy Burnham have sent their serious letter to the Department for Transport, saying it's basically all terrible up north, the trains are still old despite endless promises of full fleet upgrades, getting anywhere on a Sunday usually means leaving on Saturday, and the problems of cancellations and shorter-than-usual trains are getting worse, not better. Plus everyone's still rather tetchy about how literally everything broke last year when they tried to rejig the timetable a bit.

Taking the service back into public control is the only short-term solution, they say, a move that's backed by rail union RMT. Northern has responded to the calls, saying it's already said sorry loads of times FFS, and said that "delays in infrastructure projects out of our control" were responsible for the timetable mess anyway. [Guardian]