PUDSEY, Horsforth and Aireborough MP Stuart Andrew says he welcomes the commitment made by the Secretary of State for Transport to protect the services currently under the Arriva Rail North franchise.

Grant Shapps has said that passengers in the North have had to endure an unacceptable railway service for far too long and expressed the Department for Transport’s commitment to acting to ensure the performance improves. Recent financial information has demonstrated that the franchise will only be able to continue for a number of months. The government is considering whether to take over the franchise and the decision will be announced at the end of this month.

The Department for Transport says the current financial position of the Northern franchise will not impact on the railways day-to-day operations. It says services will continue to run and there will be no impact on railway staff.

Mr Andrew said: “I am delighted to hear that intervention is being taken by the Government to address the ailing Northern franchise. I have spoken to many of my constituents over the years and this is very much an ongoing and frustrating issue. Many of us rely on the railway to get to and from work and it is essential that the services are reliable and punctual, which they have not been for some time.

“I am very pleased that the Secretary of State for Transport has listened to my constituents and many others in the North who are subjected to this franchise. I look forward to hearing what action is being taken at the end of this month and I will be keeping my constituents informed of any developments.”

Earlier this month Mr Shapps announced he was evaluating a proposal from the train operator on options for continuing its franchise.

“Following completion of this process I will consider whether to award ARN a short-term management contract or whether to ask the Department of Transport’s own operator of last resort to step in and deliver passenger services,” he said.