Following speculation in the media about the rail franchise operated by Northern, Transport for the North have confirmed their position on a preferred course of action.
David Hoggarth, Strategic Rail Director for Transport for the North said:
Transport for the North is determined that passengers in the North of England should have rail services fit for purpose.
Our Members have made clear their frustration over a number of performance issues in relation to the Northern rail franchise, and while we are now seeing some new trains come into service, albeit late, there are still underlying issues that remain a matter of concern.
Our view is that, in the event that the franchise was to become unsustainable, our absolute priority would be to put customers first and maintain continuity of services and we have shared our views with the Secretary of State for Transport.
In order to rebuild confidence with the travelling public we are of the view that, should it be necessary, putting in an Operator of Last Resort would be the only feasible solution for any interim arrangement. We’ve been clear that, in establishing any such arrangement, Transport for the North – and its members including city leaders and metro mayors – should have a strong involvement in the scope of this and in the oversight of the interim operator.