Friday 11th December 2015
New Northern Rail Franchise Announced


Alex Hynes, Managing Director for Northern Rail comments:

“Today the Department for Transport has announced that Arriva has won the bid to run the next Northern franchise.

“From 1 April 2016, the next franchise will start the transformation of rail travel in the North.  This morning’s announcement included removal of Pacers by the end of 2019 and a £400 million investment in 281 brand new air-conditioned carriages.

“Investment in the next franchise is the news we want for our customers.  More trains, better trains and major service improvements before the end of the decade will transform our customers’ experience. 

“It will deliver a rail network fit for the growing north and enable Northern to play an even greater role in rebalancing the UK economy.  We look forward to delivering a new and exciting experience for our customers with Arriva.

“We would like to thank Serco and Abellio for everything we have achieved together.  In 2015 there will be 100 million customer journeys on Northern services; 40 million more than when we started the franchise in 2004. 

“The current franchise was awarded with a ‘no growth expectation’, yet Northern has worked to provide more services, more trains and 1,000 new jobs to help manage the dramatic growth in customer demand. It is amazing how far Northern Rail has come.”

Find out how your line will be transformed by clicking here.

Read Arriva's statement here.

Some questions and answers which might be helpful in understanding the next Northern franchise:

Has Northern lost its franchise?

No, Northern Rail has not lost its franchise. As a train operating company Northern doesn’t bid to win the franchise.  The bids are made by owning groups, such as Abellio or Arriva who then set up a train operating company to deliver their franchise bid.  The operating company that is delivering Northern services today is owned by Serco and Abellio.  The next franchise owner, which we have found out today is Arriva, will set up a new train operating company that will take over from the current train operating company on 1 April 2016. 

Train operating companies are owned by a parent company or companies who bid for franchise contracts, and the winning bidder is chosen by Government to hold the franchise contract for a fixed period, normally between seven and nine years.

Who has owned Northern in the past?

Serco and Abellio (Northern was created in 2004 by merging First North Western and Arriva Trains Northern)

Arriva Rail North Limited

How long is the next franchise?

Nine years, operating from April 2016 – March 2025.

How much money will be invested into the next franchise?

There will be a significant investment of more than £1billion to drive improvements and transform rail travel in the North of England.

Why couldn't Northern do this before - why do you need a franchise change to make things better?

The Department for Transport sets out plans and budgets in its franchise agreement.  We have spent much time helping Government understand the need for increasing rail investment in the North. We have tried to purchase new trains under the current franchise, however this was not possible. What we have done though is expand our train fleet by 30%, adding capacity to electric and diesel services across our network.

What are the key benefits for our services?

So far, we know :

What are the key benefits for our stations?

So far, we know:

What are the key benefits for our people?

A commitment to:

What are the key benefits for fares and tickets?

How does this tie into the overall benefits to the north of England?

The next franchise owner for TransPennine Express (TPE) was also announced today as First TransPennine Express Ltd. The combined benefits of the two new franchises are:

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