Pendle MP welcomes news that Northern may be stripped of its rail franchise

Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson has responded to today's breaking news that Northern Rail may be stripped of its franchise agreement.

Thursday, 2nd January 2020, 2:58 pm
Updated Thursday, 2nd January 2020, 3:08 pm

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps today described Northern rail services as "unacceptable" and hinted that he was not prepared to tolerate the operator's poor performance.

The words will have struck a chord with many Burnley and Pendle commuters and Mr Shapps' Conservative colleague, Pendle MP Mr Stephenson who said he welcomed the comments.

Mr Stephenson added: "Whilst I’ve supported the improvements Northern has sought to bring to our local rail service, far too often Pendle commuters have had their journeys delayed or cancelled. The customer service response has also been disappointing in too many cases.

Northern may be stripped of its rail franchise

"Further details about what will happen to local services and to the franchise are required. I wrote to Mr Shapps for clarity on this before the election and hope we will hear more soon.

"A change of franchise holder may be necessary but what we all really want to see is a reliable service."

Mr Shapps had already indicated in October that Northern's poor performance, with trains regularly arriving late as well as cancellations, "cannot continue".

Mr Shapps said he had issued a "request for proposals" from the firm and the Operator of Last Resort (OLR) which could lead to services being brought under government control.