10 May 2018
RMT Press Office:
RMT supports MPs call for inquiry into “crisis” on Northern Rail services and Arriva being stripped of franchise
RAIL UNION RMT has welcomed a cross party motion tabled by MPs calling for an inquiry into the “crisis” on Northern Rail services and for consideration to be given to Arriva being stripped of the franchise and returned to public ownership. The call came after Northern passengers have suffered weeks of cancellations on a number of routes.
The MPs motion also warns that:
“the problems which franchising has brought to Southern Rail services, including shortage of staff, over-reliance on rest day working and overtime, shortage of trained drivers and poor management planning resulting in frequent cancellations, are now also being replicated on Northern Rail services.”
This has been confirmed in a letter to a MP from Northern Rail who have said:
“It is more than apparent that we have had resourcing issues since the start of the franchise that have impacted on our delivery and this is something that we have been working extremely hard to address. I recognise that the franchise transition has not gone as well as we would have liked and that the process to address the issues has not been swift, however I would like to assure you that we are working hard to get the basics right as we begin delivering our major modernisation plans…… we are undertaking a significant amount of driver route and traction training ahead of the May 18 timetable which is also creating a shortage of available or spare drivers.”
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said:
“The crisis in Northern Rail has the exact same causes as that which infected Southern services. Namely greedy private train bosses trying run the railway at minimum costs and not caring about the consequences for passengers.
"They know that the government will prop them up come up what may.
“The MPs are also right to highlight the fact that Northern’ s plans for driver only trains exacerbate these problems and we fully support their call for an inquiry into the crisis in Northern services”
Motion tabled by Ian Mearns MP “Poor Performance on Northern Rail Services”
“That this House notes the Public Accounts Committee report into Rail Franchising in the UK which recognised that Passengers on the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise have suffered an appalling level of delays and cancellations since the franchise started in 2014 and that the franchising model is broken; further notes that the problems which franchising has brought to Southern Rail services, including shortage of staff, over-reliance on rest day working and overtime, shortage of trained drivers and poor management planning resulting in frequent cancellations, are now also being replicated on Northern Rail services; is concerned that passengers across the North are now being left waiting at stations, not knowing when, or if, trains will run; is further concerned that plans to introduce driver-only operated trains will exacerbate those problems; and calls on the Government to launch an urgent inquiry into the crisis at Northern Rail and give consideration to stripping Arriva of the Northern franchise and placing the service in public ownership.”