Nationalisation of Northern rail services should not be 'short term fix', says RMT

A campaign demanding that the operation of Northern rail services remains in public hands has been launched by rail union RMT.

The Government's Operator of Last Resort (OLR) took over from Arriva owned Northern after it was stripped of its franchise in January.

It comes after long-standing problems faced by the firm including cancelled infrastructure projects, delays in the delivery of new trains, prolonged industrial action and chaotic new timetables.

Credit: PA

RMT has joined forces with passenger groups and politicians to launch the campaign "Keep Northern Public."

Mick Cash, General Secretary of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers, said: “Private speculators have driven Northern Rail to the brink and its return to public ownership, joining the East Coast Main Line, should not be seen as a short term fix whilst we wait to see what scheme this Government comes up with next.

"This has to be a permanent move followed up with the investment and planning needed to deliver the rail services that passengers deserve after years of privatised chaos. “

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps claimed the aim of the change is to provide services that passengers can “truly rely on."

Overcrowding will be a “priority focus for improvement” and there are plans to extend platforms at 30 stations to accommodate longer trains.

Mr Shapps said: “This is a new era for rail in the North, but there will be no quick fix for the network as we build solutions for the future."