UK Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps has announced that the government will operate the Northern rail franchise from 1 March.

Earlier this month, Shapps stated that Northern Rail was in financial trouble and could collapse within months.

The operations of the Northern services will transfer to DfT OLR Holdings (DOHL) subsidiary Northern Trains Limited from Arriva Rail North.

The government expects Northern rail operations and staff to be undisturbed.

It has planned different improvement measures for the rail network, including the introduction of electric trains, lengthening of platforms and deep-cleaning of trains.

It will also extend its partnership with the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (ASLEF) and boost the Sunday services reliability.

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By GlobalData

As the majority of the problems affecting Northern are related to the infrastructure, Shapps has asked the leadership of the new operator to work with Network rail for an inclusive new masterplan for the congestion at Manchester.

Shapps said: “Northern’s network is huge and complex and some of the things which are wrong are not going to be quick or easy to put right. But I am determined that Northern passengers see real and tangible improvements across the network as soon as possible.

“The railways were invented in the north. Last year the Prime Minister promised that we would give the railway back to the places it was born, giving more power over services, fares, and stations to local leaders.

“Today marks the first small step towards the north taking back control of its railways and its people taking back control of their travelling lives. There will be no more leaving behind. This government is committed to levelling-up.”