TransPennine Express to be brought under govt control due to ‘continuous cancellations’

  • london
  • May 11, 2023
  • Comments Off on TransPennine Express to be brought under govt control due to ‘continuous cancellations’
TransPennine Express to be brought under govt control due to 'continuous cancellations' thumbnail

TransPennine Express will not have its contract renewed or extended, the government has announced, after “months of… continuous cancellations”.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper has said that from 28 May, TransPennine Express will be brought into operator of last resort – essentially running the network on behalf of the government.

Its services cover northern England and also run in parts of Scotland.

Mr Harper said: “In my time as transport secretary, I have been clear that passenger experience must always come first.

Latest news:

Ministers ‘plan to stop family joining overseas students’

“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.”

Recent figures from the Office of Road and Rail show that TPE cancelled an average of one in six services in March.

It had been impacted by drivers no longer volunteering to work paid overtime shifts

Mr Harper added: “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.”

TPE has been operated by FirstGroup, and it too has sought to blame “challenging industrial relations” for the disruption.

A statement from the company said: “Following the introduction of an agreed recovery plan in February 2023, cancellations have fallen by approximately 40% and will continue to do so as more drivers become available over the next few months.

“The group is disappointed by the decision not to extend the national rail contract for TPE, given the investment and improvements we have made to the service over the years, which resulted in growing annual passenger numbers from 14m in 2004 to more than 29m before the pandemic.”