Wednesday 29 June 2022

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The Department for Transport has decided to abandon the franchising system in England.

The franchise on this page ceased to exist on normal commercial terms on 23 March 2020, and was replaced by an Emergency Measures Agreement, which guaranteed an income to operators and removed commercial risk.

From 20 September 2020 until some time in 2022 Emergency Recovery Measures Agreements (ERMAs) replaced the original EMAs, slightly reducing the fixed fees paid to operators but otherwise continuing the protection from commercial risk.

Replacement contracts of a new type may be announced later on.

(In the case of Scottish franchises, the Scottish Government announced on 18 September an extension of its EMAs from 20 September 2020 to January 2021, pending further discussions.)


A holding operation after the early termination of the Arriva franchise, announced on 29 January 2020.

Northern Trains Ltd is a subsidiary of the Operator of Last Resort, which is a state-owned company (DfT OLR Holdings Limited, or DOHL).

start date
1 March 2020
end date
(not yet known)

owned by
Department for Transport/DOHL (Operator of Last Resort)

legal title
Northern Trains Ltd

service area
Local and regional services in northern England.



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