Calls that Hartlepool train passengers 'deserve better' as Northern rail to be stripped of franchise
Hartlepool’s MP has urged the Government’s transport chief to put Northern Rail in public ownership after news that the train operator is set to be stripped of its franchise.
Mike Hill has written to Grant Shapps, the Secretary of State for Transport, to put the case of frustrated Hartlepool passengers affected by overcrowding, cancellations and old trains.
He says people have been ‘plagued’ for years when travelling between Middlesbrough and Newcastle on Northern services.
Mr Shapps has now said the franchise run by German-based Arriva is to be ‘brought to an end’.
Mr Hill welcomed the news and has urged the Government to make new and larger trains a condition to any new operator.
Writing to the Transport Secretary, Mr Hill said: “My primary advice to you would be to keep the franchise in public ownership and for you to properly fund a new fleet of trains.
“However, as a start it would be good to see the Government make new and larger trains a precondition of any new ownership of the North Eastern branch line.
“The people of Hartlepool deserve better than what Northern have provided. They deserve high-quality, regular services with enough room for everyone to board.
“It is not too much to ask for, especially given the extortionate prices they are being forced to pay.
“My constituents need to travel for work and recreation and it is often impossible to board the trains between Middlesbrough and Newcastle by the time it arrives in Hartlepool.
“I would therefore be grateful to you if you would reassure my constituents that you will take the needs of the people of Hartlepool into account when looking at the future of the line.”
Northern passengers experienced a host of cancellations and delays across the network when it introduced new timetables in May 2018.
And a 2.7% fares increase has just come into effect.
The existing agreement with Northern will be replaced by either a new short-term management contract or by nationalising services by putting the Government-controlled Operator of Last Resort in charge.