Arriva Rail North - Arriva Rail North Demise - C

Arriva Rail North - C
Arriva Rail North Demise
The franchise made a £21 million profit in 2016–17 and an £11.7 million profit in 2017–18 – a figure which does not include the fallout from the May 2018 timetable chaos. At the start of the franchise, it was agreed that there would be a taxpayer subsidy of £275 million in its first year and £260 million in its third year.
Although Northern had received slightly more due to promised infrastructure improvements which the government had failed to deliver such as platforms 15 and 16 at Manchester Piccadilly which would have created a new path for the franchise to Manchester Airport. This subsidy was intended to fall sharply in 2020 to £221 million and by the end of the franchise in 2025 it would only receive £39 million.
The fall in subsidy over the franchise was likely to push Arriva into a loss; The Times reported in summer 2019 that the Department of Transport viewed the franchise as "unsustainable" and were readying an Operator of Last Resort (OLR) in the event the franchise collapsed.
The government and franchisee adopted a strategy of investing in new trains to attract new passengers to gradually reduce the subsidy over a long-term period – however the franchise has struggled to increase passenger numbers, a challenge exacerbated by the fallout from the chaotic May 2018 timetable change.
It was confirmed in October 2019 that the Department of Transport were formulating a stabilisation strategy for the franchise which could entail supervising its workings whilst letting Arriva operate the day-to-day services – an arrangement akin to special measures.
Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, was critical of regular Sunday cancellations given Arriva had committed to legally adhere to ensuring minimum service requirements as part of the franchise agreement.
Following this announcement, Arriva UK Trains expressed its regret and had adopted the view that 'collective system inability' had rendered the 2015 franchise agreement invalid. They referenced infrastructure upgrades which were reneged upon by the Department for Transport and unworkable timetabling by Network Rail – illustrated by consistent delays on the certain routes.
In November 2019, it was reported that Arriva were a target of a takeover but that the Northern franchise would not be included in such a deal. In the same month, RAIL magazine cautioned against an Operator of Last Resort (OLR), arguing that problems ran far deeper than just Northern and OLR would not be a panacea – citing Network Rail implementing a timetable with little resilience against delays, the Department of Transport (DfT) not releasing funding for infrastructure upgrades and interfering local mayors.
In January 2020, Shapps spoke again to criticise Arriva's operation of the Northern franchise and suggested that the Government may step in to revoke Arriva's franchise agreement, calling the service "completely unacceptable".
On 29 January 2020, it was announced that Arriva would be stripped of the franchise from 1 March 2020, with the franchise to be operated by the government's operator of last resort.
Responding to the early termination of the franchise, Arriva UK Trains expressed its regret at the lack of investment in infrastructure to support the increased number of services since 2016 and apologised for the service provided.
They expressed sentiments that despite the challenges encountered over the four years, much of the existing rolling stock had been modernised and the addition of new rolling stock, notably in six-coach formations on the busiest Arriva Rail North routes, provided a solid platform for the Northern franchise going forward.
Arriva Rail North Services
  • Arriva Rail North took over all the services operated by Northern Rail on 1 April 2016 and on the same date, services between Manchester Airport and Blackpool North, Manchester Airport and Barrow in Furness and Oxenholme to Windermere from First TransPennine Express.
  • Arriva Rail North took over responsibility for all the stations managed by Northern Rail, as well as Arnside, Barrow-in-Furness, Birchwood, Burneside, Carnforth, Grange-over-Sands, Kendal, Staveley, Ulverston, Warrington Central and Windermere from First TransPennine Express.
  • Arriva Rail North would staff some previously unstaffed stations. The first stations to be staffed would be Baildon and Ben Rhydding, both in West Yorkshire.
  • Arriva Rail North had committed to introducing free Wi-Fi on trains, and new ticketing options including the ability for customers to print their own tickets.
  • Arriva Rail North would provide new services across the North of England.
The Cleethorpes to Barton-on-Humber service was due to be transferred to East Midlands Railway in August 2019 but would not transfer until December 2019. The transfer would include Barrow Haven, Barton upon Humber, Goxhill, Great Coates, Grimsby Docks, Habrough, Healing, New Clee, New Holland, Stallingborough, Thornton Abbey and Ulceby stations.
On 1 July 2016, the business was divided into four regions, each headed up by a regional director:
  • Central – regional director based in Manchester
  • East – regional director based in Leeds
  • North East – regional director based in Newcastle upon Tyne
  • West – regional director based in Preston
Arriva Rail North Northern Connect
By December 2019, Arriva Rail North planned to operate a network of twelve Northern Connect inter-urban express services – a franchise requirement. Most of these would be operated by brand-new Class 195 Civity diesel multiple units and Class 331 Civity electric multiple units, whilst the Middlesbrough to Carlisle via Newcastle route would be operated by refurbished Class 158 units.
Electrification of the line between Oxenholme and Windermere was cancelled by the Government in 2017, so the Manchester Airport to Windermere route would be operated initially by Class 769 Flex trains instead, with Class 195 Civity trains taking over by the end of 2019.
Places that would be served by Northern Connect routes include Bradford, Chester, Halifax, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Nottingham, Newcastle, Preston, Sheffield, Barnsley, Lincoln, Wakefield, Wigan and York.
Arriva Rail North Overview
Arriva Rail North Franchise(s): Northern
1 April 2016 – 29 February 2020
Arriva Rail North Main Region(s): North West
North East
Yorkshire and the Humber
Arriva Rail North Other Region(s): East Midlands
Arriva Rail North Fleet Size: 386 units
Arriva Rail North Stations Called At: 528
Arriva Rail North Stations Operated: 476
Arriva Rail North Parent Company: Arriva
Arriva Rail North Predecessor: Northern Rail
Arriva Rail North Successor: Northern Trains
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