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2006-03-21 DfT-001
Department for Transport


[Northern Rail franchise review]

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Department for Transport

[Northern Rail franchise review]

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21 March 2006
source Department for Transport
type Written statement

note Derek Twigg MP. HC Deb, 21 March 2006, c19W

I am today announcing the conclusions of the review of the Northern rail franchise. Copies of the consultant's report detailing their review will be placed in the House Library.

Northern Rail, one of the largest franchises, provides services across the north–east, north-west and Yorkshire and Humber. Passenger journeys have grown by 10 per cent. in the past 12 months, and now stand at more than 71 million passenger journeys each year and public performance measure is currently 89 per cent.

The projected public subsidy is £2.4 billion (in 2004 prices) for the 8¾ year period of the contract. Collectively, the five northern Passenger Transport Executives (PTEs) are co-signatories to the agreement and sponsor the majority of Northern services.

The Strategic Rail Authority initiated a review in March 2005 with the purpose of reviewing the current timetable, which had not changed over several years, to ensure it meets present day demand and secures value for money for the taxpayer.

The review started with a comprehensive assessment of the franchise in its present form. It looked at the different markets served, current and future demand, revenue, costs, the number of trains being used and funding arrangements. It considered options for cost changes.

The review found that the franchise operates efficiently, with its trains allocated to meet the needs of peak time travel into the major towns and cities.

It found that revenue through fares, at 11p per passenger mile is lower than for other comparable rail operators. In the PTE areas, which account for 72 per cent. of passenger journeys, the figure is as low as 8p per passenger mile.

In the light of these findings, and the growth which the franchise is currently experiencing the Department has concluded that there is no compelling case for amending the current timetable or allocation of rolling stock. Service patterns will not change as a result of this review. The current levels of subsidy are also unaffected by this review.

There has been concern within the regions affected that the service review would lead to service cuts and fail to support predicted growth and economic development. We are committed to supporting current and future rail services in this franchise area and across the rail network. We will continue to work closely with Northern Rail and Passenger Transport Executives to make sure services meet future demand and that Government policy for the regions is supported.

Railhub Archive ::: 2006-03-21 DfT-001


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