Government takes over Northern operation

The Government’s Operator of Last Resort function took over the Northern franchise from Arriva on Sunday 1 March.

The decision follows a series of challenges which faced the Arriva operation, culminating in early termination due to financial difficulties.

Government says the its first priority will be rebuilding passenger confidence, with a new panel launched to provide ongoing advice on how services will be run. The panel will be led by OLR Chair Richard George and Chief Executive Robin Gisby, who is also Chairman of Northern Trains Ltd. The transfer also heralded a change in management, with former Managing Director David Brown moving to the OLR holding company, replaced by Nick Donovan as Managing Director of Northern Trains.

The new leadership of the franchise has been tasked with preparing an improvement plan during the first 100 days of the operation. Areas of immediate focus will include improved performance and resilience of Sunday services.