Train operator TransPennine Express to be brought under government control
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Train operator TransPennine Express will be brought under government control in a ‘last resort’ move from May 28. Transport Secretary Mark Harper said that the operator won’t have its contract renewed after “months of continuous cancellations”.
Mr Harper said: "In my time as transport secretary, I have been clear that passenger experience must always come first. After months of commuters and Northern businesses bearing the brunt of continuous cancellations, I've made the decision to bring TransPennine Express into Operator of Last Resort.
"This is not a silver bullet and will not instantaneously fix a number of challenges being faced, including Aslef's actions which are preventing TransPennine Express from being able to run a full service - once again highlighting why it's so important that the railways move to a seven-day working week. We have played our part, but Aslef now need to play theirs by calling off strikes and the rest day working ban, putting the very fair and reasonable pay offer to a democratic vote of their members."
“We will now work with them to restore trust in train services and build a railway people can rely on.”
Responding to the news, West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin said: “It is absolutely right that this is the end of the line for failing railway operator Transpennine Express. We’ve been urging government to act for almost a year, as delays and cancellations have damaged our economy and subjected commuters in the North to sheer misery.
“This is a victory for Northern Mayors who rallied together to hold Transpennine Express and Rishi Sunak’s government to account on this issue. We hope this allows an opportunity to reset relationships with staff who have bore the brunt of operator failings, and look forward to hearing how the new operator intends to improve services - as the voice of passengers, I will continue to speak up for their interests first and foremost.”