Better journeys for rail
customers as new Northern and TransPenine Express franchises confirmed
THE Northern franchise has been
formally signed with Arriva Rail North Ltd and TransPenine Express franchise
with 1st Trans Penonine Express Ltd. Operators will oversee a massive £1.2
billion boost to rail services.
The deals will help bring the Northern
Powerhouse to life, with 500 brand new modern carriages, room for 40,000
more passengers, 2,000 extra services a week and a host of improvements The
Department for Transport, on 23 December 2015, that it has officially signed
the Northern franchise 10 year contract with Arriva Rail North Ltd and the TransPenonine Express franchise 7 year contract with 1st TransPennine
The deals provide an unprecedented package
of improvements, bringing about the biggest transformation to rail journeys
in the North of England and Scotland in decades. The formal confirmation
follows the government's announcement of the awards and a routine standstill
period of at least 10 days. Together, the operators will oversee a
massive £1.2 billion boost to rail services with 500 brand new modern
carriages, room for 40,000 more passengers, 2,000 extra services a week and
a host of improvements to deliver a modern, 21st Century passenger
experience. The improvements will play a vital role in bringing the Northern
Powerhouse to life, rebalancing the economy, creating jobs, opportunity and
growth, and providing significantly better journeys across the region.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said:- "We promised passengers
a world class rail service that would make the Northern Powerhouse a
reality; and I'm delighted that we have found 2 operators that will deliver
exactly that. As a 1 nation government we are committed to closing the
economic gap between North and South. These deals, which have been confirmed
today, and the joint management of the franchises, will bring the Northern
Powerhouse to life. In 2004, the last time these contracts were awarded, the
government did not plan for growth. With the signing of these contracts,
Arriva Rail North Limited and First Trans Penonine Express Limited are on
track to deliver their exciting, ambitious plans that will make a real
difference to customers, and coupled with our commitment to push ahead with
electrifying the vital TransPenonine route; will help the region realise its
full economic potential, ensuring it has a modern 21st Century transport
system. This is fantastic news for the North."
The franchises will be jointly managed from Leeds by the Department for
Transport and Rail North Limited; which represents 210 local authorities
across the North.
Sir Richard Leese, chair of the Association of Rail North Partner
Authorities said:- "Passengers were clear that they wanted to see a
transformation including a lot more newer, better, trains running more
regularly with a step change in services provided off peak and on Sundays.
They also wanted improvements to stations and changes to make ticketing
easier; and thanks to all the partnership work by Rail North and the
Department for Transport, that's exactly what we have been are able to
announce. This is another crucial move towards devolution for the North.
Rail North will now play a major role in the management and development of
both new franchises, providing an excellent platform for further development
and full devolution in the future. Rail North will work very closely with
Transport for the North to drive forward economic growth by developing
visionary proposals to deliver radically improved connectivity across the
Arriva Rail North Limited will run the Northern franchise from April 2016
until March 2025. The operator will oversee the complete removal of the
outdated and unpopular Pacers by the end of 20110, and will invest £400
million in 281 brand new air conditioned carriages; more than double the
minimum required in the government's invitation to tender.
Other improvements on the Northern Network include:-
► More than 2,000 extra services each week.
► Nearly a 40% increase in capacity; creating
space for 31,000 extra passengers travelling into Liverpool, Manchester,
Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle during the morning rush hour period.
► A new
high quality 'Northern Connect' service, meaning new or
refurbished trains on longer distance services, faster journeys and stations
staffed daily with catering services and free WiFi.
► Improved ticketing, including mobile and print
at home tickets, and discounted fares for jobseekers.
Chris Burchell, Managing Director of Arriva's UK Trains division, said:-
"We are proud to be given the opportunity to transform rail travel for
passengers in the North of England and to work closely with our partners to
connect Towns, Cities and communities like never before. We will be
investing more than £1 billion to deliver a step change in quality for
customers and dramatically improving services, stations, information and
ticketing. Our aim is to be the communities' local railway and to leave a
positive lasting legacy for the North of England."
First Trans Penonine Express Limited will operate services on the
TransPenonine Express franchise; which runs Intercity services across the
region and into Scotland; from April 2016 until March 2023. They will bring
in 220 new carriages, equivalent to 44 trains and worth more than £400
million, providing fast 125 mph services across the Network, as well as:-
► Introducing new and additional services for
Scotland, including a new, direct Liverpool to Glasgow service from December
2018, with new electric trains.
Doubling the number of Manchester to Newcastle services and running more
daily services to Hull, from Manchester and Leeds, both from December 2017.
Bringing in 10,000 extra seats into Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool
and Newcastle during the morning rush hour period.
► Offering discounted advance fares for 16 to 18
year olds and jobseekers.
Tim O'Toole, chief executive of FirstGroup, said:- "Our new
TransPenonine Express franchise will deliver faster and more frequent
Intercity train services between the North's major Towns and Cities and we
are excited to help the government achieve its vision for a Northern
Powerhouse. Our plans include investment in new and refurbished trains on
every part of the Network, with millions more seats available, free Wi-Fi
and simpler smart and mobile ticketing, allowing us to build on the success
we have had over the past 11 years, in which we have more than doubled
passenger journeys on the Network. We will work with local authorities,
customers and community groups to give them a real stake in the future of
their Intercity rail travel. The new TransPenonine Express will connect the
North and keep people moving and communities prospering across the region."
Other improvements across both new franchises include:-
► The provision of free Wi-Fi by December 20110 on
all services, all TransPenonine Express stations and 36 Northern stations.
► Challenging targets to improve customer
satisfaction and reduce cancellations and short formations, which operators
will be expected to meet.
► The introduction of automatic delay repay
compensation for passengers who buy season and advance purchase tickets
► £55 million of investment in stations to bring
them into the 21st Century.
During the franchises, the government and Network Rail will also forge ahead
with electrification of the TransPenonine line to deliver faster journey
times and significantly more capacity. Network Rail is currently developing
a detailed plan for the work which, when finished, will provide a fully
electrified route between Liverpool and Newcastle.
The deal will also mean significant
returns to government and better value for the Taxpayer. The government will
receive £400 million in premiums from First Trans Penonine Express Limited
over the life of the franchise; previously, the franchise was subsidised by
the government. The amount of annual subsidy the government pays for the
Northern franchise will be reduced by £160 million by the end of the 10 year
The work is expected to be completed in
A Very Charitable
VULNERABLE children and families
will benefit from hundreds of gifts donated by Liverpool City Council Staff,
Workers demonstrated their commitment to fundraising with a Christmas
appeal, donating hand picked gifts to Liverpool Homeless Football Club, the
Salvation Army and young adults who are leaving the care system.
The gift appeal is the final fundraising effort of the year for staff, and
is organised by 'Charity Champion' team members who
voluntarily organise fundraising events throughout the year in addition to
their work duties.
The charities will hand out the gifts to vulnerable children and families
across the City over the Christmas period. They include household
essentials, beauty products and children's clothes and toys.
Liverpool City Council Chief Executive Ged Fitzgerald said:- "These
gifts will mean so much to those children and families who are less
fortunate, especially at Christmas, and I'm proud that once again Liverpool
City Council Staff have been so generous, going above and beyond for our
charities. They really are a credit to us."
'Charity Champion' Clare Maher, said:- "It's so rewarding to
know that on Christmas Day families across Merseyside will have extra gifts
to open and that young people setting up home for the 1st time have some
essential items thanks to the generosity of our staff. This has been our
most successful year to date and I can't wait to be involved in next year's
appeal hopefully making it bigger and better."
Michael Binns, who works with young people in care, said the gift appeal
will help a lot:- "Most care leavers move into their own accommodation
once they turn 18, and receive a 1 off allowance of £2,000 to help them buy
essentials such as furniture, but it doesn't go very far and if you have to
be rehomed for whatever reason you won't be given the same allowance again."
The gift appeal is just 1 of many fundraising efforts
undertaken by staff so far this year. They have also raised £7437.71 for
their 2 corporate charities: the Whitechapel Centre which supports the
homeless and Claire House Children's Hospice in Wirral. Of the money raised,
£33103.33, will go to the Whitechapel Centre and £4044.58 to Claire House.
In an added effort, they also raised £3108.14, for the Nepal Earthquake
Appeal, in the wake of the disaster this year.
A total of 17 'Charity Champions' have co-ordinated activities
such as a sleep out at Everton FC, bake sales, dress down days and raffles.
Other fundraising events have included a catwalk show, Mayor's Dinner
charity auction and ping pong tournament. Chief Executive, Ged Fitzgerald
and his senior management team also took part in the Santa Dash.
Fantastic result from the 24 Hour Rowathon,
in aid of PC Neil Doyle Memorial Fund
ON Thursday, 17 December 2015, a 24
hour, indoor, charity rowing event took place at Merseyside Police
Headquarters in aid of the PC Neil Doyle Memorial Fund. Tim Davies,
45, an Evaluator with Merseyside Police, and on the 1 Anniversary of the
creation of the fund, he took on the challenge in the foyer of the Canning
Place. He was assisted by a team of 6 who took over when he needs to take a
break. Merseyside Police have since told us that:- "Tim Davies
raised a total of £1565 for the Fund during his 24 Hour Charity Rowathon.
The money was raised through donations on the day and to the Justgiving
page. Tim would like to thank the media, colleagues and members of public
for their support and for everyone who made a donations." Never
1 to shy away from a challenge, Tim is a member of Reserve Forces and has
recently returned from training in Austria, where he qualified as a
Snowboard instructor. He's also completed numerous challenges for a variety
of charities including a bike ride from Hornsea to Liverpool, an abseil and
many marathons and half marathons all in aid of a good cause. Tim said:-
"I didn't know Neil Doyle personally, but I wanted to do something to
help the memorial fund and I thought the Anniversary was the ideal time to
do it..." If you'd like to still make a donation, you can do
so via log onto his Just Giving
Statement following the
sentencing of Edward Brooks
MERSEYSIDE Police have confirmed
that 45 year old Edward Brooks, from Southport, was sentenced on Monday, 21
December 2015, at Liverpool Crown Court to 4 years and 2 months imprisonment
after pleading guilty to a total of 15 drug and sexual offence charges.
Brooks was also issued with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 5 years.
Brooks was convicted of supplying cocaine and Zopiclone to a vulnerable 16
year old girl, with intent to commit a sexual offence against her. He was
also convicted of supplying both Diazepam and Dihydrocodeine, and making
indecent images. Brooks had initially befriended the victim, who had started
work at his partner's place of work. Detective Sergeant John Harrison of the
Matrix Sex Offenders Unit said:- "Brooks' actions were despicable,
grooming and exploiting the victim's vulnerability, and administering her
with drugs, including sleeping tablets, actions which were carried out with
a sexual intent. This was a complex investigation due to the age and
vulnerability of the victim and the drugs that were administered. I would
like to take this opportunity to praise the victim for her immense bravery
in giving evidence to help secure justice, which has been supported every
step of the way by the Police and our partners. We would urge other victims
of sexual offences, whether they are historic or otherwise, to not suffer in
silence and instead tell someone what has happened to them. The force is
committed to the protection and wider safeguarding issues of young people.
In doing so we view the abuse or grooming as unacceptable and will work with
partner agencies to investigate and where possible prevent such abuse. We
all have a duty of care to protect young people from harm and I would
encourage parents, grandparents, teachers, health professionals, social
services and any other adults to take a little time to better educate
themselves about child sexual exploitation. Merseyside Police has a great
which highlights these issues from young people's perspectives and also
shows where you can get help if you have any concerns about any child you
know. It helps victims to find the right kind of support and advice if they
have suffered abuse in the past. It also has loads of information for young
people to help them if they think they are being exploited, or if they are
worried 1 of their friends may be."
Anyone who would like to report a sexual offence or anyone with information
is asked to contact Merseyside Police on:- 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800:-