The Department for Transport (DfT) has granted a continuation of Northern Rail’s Northern Franchise.

Northern will continue to operate local and regional rail services across the north of England until 1 April 2014.

Ian Bevan, Managing Director, Northern Rail said:

“We are delighted that the Department for Transport has chosen to confirm this continuation. Since we began operating in 2004 we have worked hard to improve the service we offer our customers.

“Confirming the continuation now means we can continue this work, focusing on the areas we know matter to our customers.”

Northern said it will be improving the cleanliness of trains by upgrading the washing plants at depots ‘in the next few months’.

Northern’s franchise was originally due to end on 15 September 2013, after it had already secured a two-year extension in 2010 for improving the punctuality and reliability of its services.

The Franchise Agreement contained a clause for the DfT to grant a franchise continuation of up to seven reporting periods, which it has chosen to do.


  1. Whilst Northern’s trains can be indeed said to be the worst (i.e. the oldest) in Britain, this was all down to the Labour Government of 2004, who let the franchise on a “no growth” or investment basis. Hence, no new trains have ever been sanctioned by the DfT and passengers have been continually saddled with secondhand rolling stock. Even the Class 319s destined for the “Lancashire Triangle” electrification will be over 25 years-old when they reallocated in a few years time.


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