Home MPs John Grogan Railways: North of England

Railways: North of England

Department for Transport written question – answered on 10th December 2018

John Grogan Labour, Keighley

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the outcome is of his discussions with Northern and Transpennine on their franchise commitments to provide train services on Boxing Day 2018.

Andrew Jones Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport), Vice-Chair, Conservative Party

Under the terms of their Franchise Agreement Arriva Rail North (ARN) were required within 12 months of the start date of the franchise to consult with passengers, user groups, Network Rail, other train operators who operate along the affected routes and other relevant Stakeholders on the potential demand for passenger services on Boxing Day and produce a report. This was submitted to the Rail North Partnership team and highlighted that the direct cost of operation would exceed the estimated revenue, and raised concerns regarding access due to significant engineering activity traditionally carried out at this time of year.

Separately ARN’s Franchise Agreement requires the operation of a minimum of 60 services on Boxing Day from 2018. However, Northern raised concerns about their ability to operate a service on Boxing Day 2018, mainly due to engineering possessions along the routes they wish to operate, and have asked for a derogation until the following year to the current Franchise Agreement which is currently being considered.

Under the terms of their Franchise Agreement TransPennine Express (TPE) were required within 12 months of the start date of the franchise to consult with passengers, user groups, Network Rail, other train operators who operate along the affected routes and other relevant Stakeholders on the potential demand for passenger services on Boxing Day and produce a report.

This was submitted to the Rail North Partnership team and recommended that there may be an opportunity to work jointly with ARN and RNP to agree to use funds allocated in the Franchise for future service initiatives (the Service Options Fund) to provide a trial service for a future Boxing day, with terms of such a trial being pre-agreed between the parties.

Unlike ARN, TPE has no obligation under its Franchise Agreement to provide Boxing Day services. Opportunities for funding and delivering such services in the future will be considered alongside other franchise enhancement opportunities.