TransPennine is to be nationalised, it was announced today. The government will now run the service that covers much of the north of England as well as running to Edinburgh and Glasgow in Scotland. It comes after customer complaints of trains being cancelled and poor service.
The BBC reported today that “In January and February about a quarter of its services were cancelled, which was the highest rate in the UK.”
Comments from North of Tyne Mayor, Jamie Driscoll
In response to the news that TransPennine Express is to be stripped of its franchise, North of Tyne Mayor, Jamie Driscoll said:
“People across the north have been suffering appalling services from TransPennine Express (TPE) for years. I’ve heard of people having to get taxis from Manchester airport to Newcastle because trains were cancelled at short notice.
I’ve been lobbying TransPennine to improve, and lobbying the Secretary of State not to renew their franchise, along with my fellow Labour Mayors Andy Burnham, Steve Rotheram, Tracy Brabin and Oliver Coppard. We use the trains, we talk to our people – we knew what needed to happen. The Secretary of State has listened to us, changed his position, and decided to bring TPE back into public control. We also need to settle the industrial disputes so rail workers’ pay can keep up with inflation – it’s not too much to ask.
This is good news for passengers. But unless we get more investment in our railways we won’t fix the underlying problem. That’s why in the North East I want to use our new devolution deal to build a Total Transport Network that integrates rail, Metro, buses, park & ride and active travel, so it’s easier and cheaper to get across the region on public transport. The travelling public deserve it, and with a better system, we’ll see more people switch from cars to public transport.”
Comments from Stockton North MP, Alex Cunningham
And Alex Cunningham, Stockton North MP said:
“After months of travel chaos the government has finally made the right decision by nationalising the TransPennine service. We can only imagine, however, how much chaos could have been avoided, and trips saved, if Ministers had acted sooner.
“The debacle highlights that the system of handing out contracts to private rail operators is fundamentally broken, and passengers are being failed as a result. Rather than the State acting as an “operator of last resort” there is a compelling argument not just from the months-long TransPennine fiasco but also the East Coast Mainline, Avant and other failing services across the country, to make for our railways to brought back under public control and make the railways work for people, not profit. If the Conservative Government won’t act in the interest of passengers then an incoming Labour Government will.”