Rail union backs calls to act over Northern

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Pressure is mounting to take rail services in the North back into public ownership following the hints that Northern could be stripped of its franchise.

TSSA general secretary, Manuel Cortes, has joined Manchester and Liverpool mayors Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram in urging the Government to act over poor services.

Rail union TSSA has joined calls to act over Northern

Rail union TSSA has joined calls to act over Northern

He said: “It’s been clear for some time that the Northern Rail franchise has been living on borrowed time, and finally it’s reached the end of the line.

“The problem isn’t just Northern Rail, it’s the franchising system itself. Rather than taking the system into temporary public ownership while another expensive franchising competition takes place, the government should call time on the failed experiment of rail privatisation.

“Then the focus can be where it should always have been - on providing a reliable service to passengers, rather than profits for shareholders.”

Cortes’ comments follow Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps’ announcement this week that the troubled train operator, owned by Arriva, is likely to lose the franchise after months of delays, cancellations and overcrowded trains.

Manuel Cortes

Manuel Cortes

If the move is announced, as expected early this month, then it could be March before an Operator of Last Resort fully takes over.