Statement from the Northern Powerhouse All Party Parliamentary Group on Northern trains chaos

6 June 2018

“The chaos on Northern trains for the last two weeks has been unacceptable. We urge the Secretary of State to never allow this to happen again by authorising Transport for the North to have executive powers to hold Network Rail and rail franchises to account.”


  • For two years, Northern Rail has been preparing to deliver the ambitious plans for improved services they promised to the travelling public. Network Rail in January this year told them that a completely different set of changes would be ready in time for the proposed timetable changes, at that time four and a half months away. Northern Rail have let the travelling public down, but Network Rail in delivering schemes as directed by Department for Transport have also let the North, and as a result, the country down. The Transport for the North board were not involved in the process of holding Network Rail to account, and from what we can tell, no one held them to account for the mismanagement that took place. 
  • The executive power to hold Network Rail to account needs to be shared between the Secretary of State and the Transport for the North board – or eventually fully transferred  to TfN. This crisis cannot be allowed to happen again. 
  • The detailed arrangements for making this change will be covered by a review being set up by Transport Minister, Jo Johnson, and Cllr Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council and also an Associate Vice Chair of the Northern Powerhouse APPG as well as TfN Board Member.
  • Finally, it is the case that Northern Rail are in breach of their franchise, a matter which the Secretary of State must now also address.