Future of the Northern Franchise

We can confirm that today the Secretary of State has announced that the operation of all Northern services will transfer from Arriva Rail North to Northern Trains Limited, a subsidiary of DfT OLR Holdings Limited (DOHL). 

All Arriva Rail North passengers, employees and suppliers can expect operations to continue during the transfer period. 

For further information about the transfer please refer to the website www.northern.olrholdings.co.uk

For media enquiries relating to Northern Trains Limited please call 0207 067 0089 / 07870 981 351 (out of hours)

To read the Secretary of State’s announcement, click here

Ticket remain valid and available for sale on the Northern website.

Arriva's response to the announcement [29 January 2020] by the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, that Arriva’s Northern franchise will be transferred to the Operator of Last Resort.

Chris Burchell, Arriva MD UK Trains said:

“We had a clear vision for the Northern franchise that would better connect the cities of the North with more frequent, reliable and modern services and unlock economic growth. It was clear however that, largely because of external factors, the franchise plan had become undeliverable.  A new plan is needed that will secure the future for Northern train services.  As such, we understand Government’s decision today.

“I would like to recognise the hard work of the 6,000 strong team at Northern who have worked tirelessly over the last four years to deliver improvements to local rail services in the North, at times under extremely difficult conditions.

“The scale of the challenges we faced outside of our direct control were unprecedented, particularly around delayed or cancelled infrastructure projects and prolonged strike action.  Despite the challenges, the team has introduced brand new trains onto the network for the first time in a generation. They have introduced more than 2,000 extra services per week, refurbished trains and stations, and created hundreds of new customer-facing jobs as part of a £600 million investment programme for the North.

“We recognise however that overall service improvements have not come quickly enough, and passengers deserve better. For that, we wholeheartedly apologise. We now stand ready to support Government and the Operator of Last Resort to ensure a smooth transfer for our passengers and colleagues alike.

“I am confident that as a result of the determination and hard work of the Northern rail team, they have helped set strong foundations for future improvement on the network.”


Notes to editors

Notes to Editors

Arriva has successfully created the foundations for performance improvement

  • We have seen an increase of 10.6% in passenger kilometres, carrying 7 million more passengers than this time last year
  • 52 out of 101 brand new trains are already in service and the rest will come into passenger service by May 2020
  • The majority of Pacer trains have now retired, with all gone by May
  • We are leaders in new, flexible Smart Ticketing – and have installed 600 new Ticket Vending Machines

Arriva UK Trains is an experienced rail operator

  • Arriva has nearly 20 years’ experience operating rail services in the UK, with a great track record for delivery
  • We operate some of the highest performing train services in the country, including some of the most complicated networks

About Arriva 

  • Arriva Group is the leading provider of passenger transport services in Europe, employing around 53,000 people and delivering around 2 billion passenger journeys across 14 European countries each year
  • It is part of Deutsche Bahn, one of the world’s leading passenger transport and logistics service providers
  • Arriva operates in the Czech Republic; Croatia; Denmark; Hungary; Italy; the Netherlands; Poland; Portugal; Serbia; Slovakia; Slovenia, Spain; Sweden; and the UK