Northern Class 195, Manchester Airport

Should Northern Rail Be Nationalised? Be Careful What You Wish For

Or: is the Grayling Curse to blame for Northern’s woes?

The rail franchising system is dead. Long live the rail franchising system. In the last year, we have seen a recasting of the rail franchising system in favour of management contracts. Since 1994, rail franchises in Great Britain have mirrored former British Rail profit centres, which in turn have roots in BR’s sectorisation programme by Sir Robert (Basil) Reid.

Continue reading “Should Northern Rail Be Nationalised? Be Careful What You Wish For”

Defining Features of Northern Rail’s Franchise: The Not So Perfect Ten

Ten key characteristics of Serco/Abellio’s 12-year franchise term

Class 158, platform 2, Preston railway station
The Class 158 DMU, one of Northern Rail’s more classy rolling stock, seen at Preston station. Alongside its incumbent 158s, there will be further examples, cascaded from Scotrail. These will be diagrammed for Arriva Trains North’s Northern Connect express services.

By the start of next month, the Northern franchise will be taken over by Arriva/Deutsche Bahn Rail. This will be Arriva’s second stint with a Northern English heavy rail franchise (the previous being Arriva Trains Northern) and, most notably, it entails the withdrawal of Class 142 and Class 144 railbuses. Continue reading “Defining Features of Northern Rail’s Franchise: The Not So Perfect Ten”

A Northern Snub? Trans-Pennine Electrification ‘Paused’

Northern Powerhouse project put on back burner

Stalybridge Station, signal gantry
Nowhere Fast: the pausing of Trans-Pennine electrification plans is set to see most of Northern England condemned to another decade or so of ancient diesel trains.

The Northern Powerhouse has been dealt a body blow as plans to electrify the Trans-Pennine route have been ‘paused’. As quoted in Hansard, the Secretary of State for Transport, The Right Honourable Patrick McLoughlin MP (Conservative, Derbyshire Dales) stated that: Continue reading “A Northern Snub? Trans-Pennine Electrification ‘Paused’”

The North North of the Border: A New South Scotland?

A pipe dream or a possibility?

Over the last week, most of the UK’s populace was agog at David Cameron clinching another term of office. That as part of a majority Conservative government, Britain’s first since April 1992. As well as apathy and the most partisan press campaign since Michael Foot was Labour leader, nationalism played a major part. The UKIP vote ate into Labour’s share as well as the Conservatives’ votes. Continue reading “The North North of the Border: A New South Scotland?”

Countdown to Black Monday, 08 September 2014: Your Questions Answered

Everything you need to know about changes to evening peak fares this coming month

Class 153, Manchester Victoria, Platform 2
Another export from Workington: this stunning Class 153 which came from the same Lillyhall plant as your beloved Pacer unit in the previous article. Here’s the old roof, which is being dismantled and replaced by a new one. Paid for by yours truly, the squeezed commuter and even more squeezed casual traveller.

On hearing about the changes covered in our previous article, we at East of the M60 were aggrieved to say the least. Incensed because of the effects it would have on casual travellers. Fuming over this sanction being the most retrograde rail development in Greater Manchester since the arrival of the Class 142 Pacer unit. Continue reading “Countdown to Black Monday, 08 September 2014: Your Questions Answered”

DfT Imposes Evening Peak Restrictions on Northern Rail Users

Price of a cheap day trip set to double in September

  • Evening Ranger tickets face abolition;
  • Blow for Northern English nighttime economy;
  • Changes set to boost Metrolink patronage and increase road congestion.

Class 142 Pacer DMU, Manchester Piccadilly, post-rush hour
See this Pacer unit here: you’ve paid for this when it was one of many Leyland’s Nationals from Workington. Then you paid for British Rail to convert it into a DMU. Guess what? From early September, you’ll be paying even more for it if you wish to travel after 4pm!

From the 08 September, the price of a short train journey between 4.00 to 6.30pm is set to double on weekdays. Passengers wishing to travel by train throughout the Transport for Greater Manchester, Metro West Yorkshire and Travel South Yorkshire will be unable to use Off-Peak Day Return tickets during the evening peak. Continue reading “DfT Imposes Evening Peak Restrictions on Northern Rail Users”

Like Crushing The Great Pyramids For Posh Hotels: Could the ConDems Close The World’s Oldest Railway Station?

A Cuts Scene Investigation Special: National Railway Museum, National Media Museum and Manchester Museum of Science and Industry to face closure or admission charges

NRM
Replica of Stephenson’s Rocket, outside the National Railway Museum, York. Photograph by Howard Longden (Creative Commons Attribution License-Some Rights Reserved)

The year is 2035. Manchester is connected to its recently opened High Speed Two line, which whisks Mancunians to the present day capital of the United Kingdom. It is possible to get a hourly HS2 service to London which takes 70 minutes. Elsewhere in the Greater Manchester City Region, it takes a similar amount of time to travel from Stockport to Ashton-under-Lyne by bus in the peaks on the 330 route. Continue reading “Like Crushing The Great Pyramids For Posh Hotels: Could the ConDems Close The World’s Oldest Railway Station?”