End of Northern rail franchise uncertainty

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

pteg today welcomed the Government's decision to go ahead with the Northern Rail franchise, and looks forward to working with Northern Rail operator - Serco-NedRailways.

However, pteg also expressed concern over the level of resources available to modernise the North's commuter rail networks - which are vital to the economic development of some of Britain's largest city regions.

Roy Wicks, Director General of South Yorkshire PTE, takes the lead on rail issues for pteg:

'We are pleased that the long running uncertainty over the future of the Northern Rail franchise has now been resolved, and that the franchise will come into effect in December. All the PTEs in the North of England look forward to working with Serco-NedRailways to deliver better rail services as part of integrated public transport networks for the North's city regions. Since Serco-NedRailways took over the Merseyrail Electrics franchise last year, it has become the best performing heavy rail network in the country. We will be looking for the same attention to detail on Northern Rail.'

'It is disappointing, however, that the funding for the Northern Rail franchise does not currently provide for the level of investment needed to modernise and develop our commuter rail networks. Rail services in our conurbations play a major part in reducing congestion and improving the economic performance of the North's city regions. The PTEs will continue to press the Government - through the Local Transport Plan process, and individual submissions - for further improvements to the North's rail networks. These are needed to deal with continuing problems with infrastructure bottlenecks and with some of the worst peak hour overcrowding in the country.'