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1998-10-29 OPR-001
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Service levels restored on North Western Trains under recovery plan


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OPRAF

Service levels restored on North Western Trains under recovery plan
_______________________________________________________________


date
29 October 1998
source OPRAF
type Press release



After concern over the number of cancellations during July and August, North
Western Trains have now improved performance so that over 99% of trains
are currently running. This follows implementation of a recovery plan agreed
by FirstGroup plc, OPRAF and the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport
Executive (GMPTE). PTEs in other areas covered by North Western Trains'
services - Merseyside and West Yorkshire - have also been consulted.

Key elements of the agreed recovery plan, which was implemented in
September, are now to become contractually binding. These include
measures to increase the number of drivers, improve rolling stock availability,
and ensure compliance with commitments on ticket office opening hours.

Franchising Director John O'Brien said today:
"GMPTE, FirstGroup and I agreed that the priority was to ensure that
performance returned to an acceptable level as soon as possible. Following
the implementation of the recovery plan we have been monitoring progress
and have noted that cancellations have reduced considerably across the
franchise, and are currently running at less than 1%.

"Although levels of cancellations across the franchise as a whole did not
exceed the thresholds set out in the franchise agreement, services o n the
Manchester - Oldham - Rochdale loop were withdrawn altogether between 5
and 9 August. This unacceptable concentration of cancellations was a breach
of the franchise agreement, and GMPTE and I have secured the offer of two
weeks' free travel for passengers on the route affected by the breach as
compensation. Services on that line have been maintained since 10 August,
and I am now satisfied that I can declare this breach remedied."

Notes to Editors:

1. Total cancellations - i.e. trains which were cancelled throughout, or
completed less than 50% of their scheduled mileage - on North Western
Trains for the last four reporting periods were as follows: Period 4 (28.6.98 -
25.7.98) 2.76% Period 5 (26.7.98 - 22.8.98) 3.83% Period 6 (23.8.98 -
19.9.98) 1.49% Period 7 (20.9.98 - 17.10.98) 0.98%

2. Season ticket holders (monthly or above) on the Manchester - Oldham -
Rochdale loop will be offered a 14 day extension or an equivalent refund.
North Western Trains and GMPTE are developing details of the package to
be offered to other ticket holders. Full details will be announced by NWT in
due course.

3. As required under the Railways Act, the Franchising Director is issuing a
section 55 (6) notice of remedy. Formal changes to the contract will be agreed
shortly by OPRAF, FirstGroup, and the PTEs. Both the notice and the contract
changes will be placed on the Franchising Director's public register.

4. The North Western Trains franchise was awarded to Great Western
Holdings Limited (GWHL) on 5 February 1997 for a period of seven years and
one month. The Franchising Director gave his approval to the change of
control of GWHL to FirstGroup plc on 30 March 1998.

5. Greater Manchester PTE, Merseyside PTE and West Yorkshire PTE are
co-signatories to the franchise agreement with OPRAF.


Railhub Archive ::: 1998-10-29 OPR-001





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