Northern should lose train franchise, says Party

The Yorkshire Party has joined the call for Northern Rail to lose its franchise after another delay in scrapping antiquated Pacer trains in the region.

Alex Sobel, the Leeds North West MP has argued that Northern Rail should be stripped of its rail franchise

Pacers were due to be taken off the network by the end of the year, but reports suggest that the firm has discussed extending their use with the Department for Transport, after technical issues with their replacements.

Bob Buxton: We shouldn’t put up with third-rate trains

Yorkshire Party Transport Spokesperson Bob Buxton said: “The fiasco with Pacers is just the latest in a string of Northern Rail failures.

“It has a reputation for being disorganised; if you use a Northern Smart Card, be sure to keep the receipt to show the conductor because they rarely have scanners. Conductors have to use their phones, which then run out of charge, so can’t be used in an emergency. As one conductor said to me It’s Northern – what do you expect?” 

“More generally, I’m disappointed to see diesel trains (old and new) being used and planned for use around Leeds and the rest of Yorkshire. Trains with hydrogen fuel cells are already being developed in the UK and we need to focus and invest more in those – the only emissions are water.”

An antiquated Pacer train
Image: Peter Broster

“Yorkshire should not accept third-rate trains – London wouldn’t. I agree with Alex Sobel that Northern should lose its franchise.

“In the short term, this would mean nationalisation and an expert-led review being undertaken to determine how to ensure the best service and value for people living and working in our region.”

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