To consider feedback on the matters discussed at the Rail North Committee Consultation Call on 22 February 2023.
Lead: David Hoggarth
8.1 Members received the report from the Head of Strategic Rail who outlined the key points within the report.
8.2 Members raised a number of issues relating to rail services in their areas.
8.3 Mayor Brabin stated that as agreed at the November Rail North Committee and the December Board a single operator in the North would be the best way forward and allow for economies of scale. She requested that the Chair make clear the Board’s collective position to the Secretary of State.
8.4 Mayor Coppard commented that he had met with the Managing Director of Transpennine Express (TPE) and requested that they increase their presence on platforms and asked for TPE to be held to account not only on Service Delivery but also on Customer Service.
8.5 Peter Kennan raised issue of other operators that run trains in the North stating that they appear to be cutting costs as well by reducing the size of the trains delivering services. He requested that TfN examine this to try to identify interventions.
8.6 Mayor Burnham stated that something needs to be done about the TPE decision and TfN should be looking to influence this decision. He stated his opinion that a fresh start is needed with TPE and highlighted that there are a number of disputes between staff and management at TPE and that there has been an erosion of goodwill within the company.
8.7 Mayor Rotheram highlighted a number of key issues with operators and explained that whilst they may not cancel trains they will often reduce the number of carriages, leading to the trains being full beyond capacity. He also expressed concern about the public being unable to travel to Liverpool for major events – such as Eurovision - over the coming months.
8.8 Cllr Gittins raised the issue of Avanti trains running between London and Crewe being regularly cancelled leaving passengers stranded and negatively impacting on local economies.
8.9 On the issue of TPE and a single contract for the North, the Head of Strategic Rail explained this was the TfN position when the franchises were originally put together. He added that this position has formed the basis of comments in response to last summer’s consultation on the legislation for Great British Railways.
8.10 The Chair summed up, commenting that there is a strong voice about the future direction. and that he will write to the Secretary of State informing him that it is the view of the Board that there should be one operator across the North for TPE and Northern.
1) That the Board notes the feedback from the Rail North Committee including detailed discussions with the train operators about their plans to improve performance for passengers.
2) That Board endorses the feedback from the Committee (set out in paragraph 3.4) that TPE’s recovery plan does not go far enough or fast enough and that Government needs to play a role working with TPE and the Trade Unions to find a way to improve ... view the full minutes text for item 8