Leeds against call to nationalise Northern Rail

Image of Leeds Train Station"Welcome to Leeds" - Passengers suffer delays from Northern Rail.

Five MPs are calling on government to nationalise Northern due to complaints of overcrowding, delays and cancellations.

In a joint letter to the Department of Transport, Rachel Reeves, Alex Sobel, Hilary Benn, Richard Burgon and Fabian Hamilton are claiming people are paying for a “woeful service that falls way below acceptable standards”.

“Our railways should be run for people, not profit.”

Shadow Spokesman for Transport in Leeds, Councillor Neil Buckley said: “I think it is a panacea to believe that nationalisation offers a panacea for running the railways.

“I think what Leeds passengers care most about is trains turning up on time and getting them where they want to go, and much less about who is in charge.”

David Brown, Managing Director at Northern, said the firm had faced “several unprecedented challenges” that stopped them from using electric trains and long trains. Brown said that they are working with the government to deliver a “transformation programme”.

“Arriva and Northern remain fully committed to delivering the transformation of the North’s railways and improving customers’ experience. We are delivering the biggest transformation of local rail for a generation.”

Northern’s contract to run their services is not due to terminate until 2025 but the government holds the power to terminate it early.

Leader of the Conservative Party, Councillor Barry Anderson, said: “What will this cost the taxpayer? The devil is in the detail. If it was that easy the previous Labour Government would have done it?”

Workers at Northern also seem to be against nationalisation.

Lee Robson, who worked at Northern for several years, said: “Scrapping a franchise from a ToC (theory of constraints) won’t and can’t change anything over night.

“In fact, it will take years to see any change to what we have now, and I believe the general public certainly don’t realize this or perhaps don’t have any relative experience of how the railway works.”

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