Aligns it perfectly to merge with the TPE franchise... I think that's why this has been done.
Isn't it good of Northern to let its staff know!
Although many will no doubt be along soon to slate them, I'm pleased that Northern have got a franchise extension. I still have a reliable and useable local service thanks to them, which I certainly couldn't rely on in Arriva Trains Northern days.
I thought it was already generally known that the Northern and TPE franchises would be aligned to finish "between April 2014 and March 2015"? At least this has confirmed that the two franchises will be finishing at the earliest of these dates.
I hesitate to agree. Although the stock is a mixed bag of crap, 85% of which needs replacing or total refurbishment, I can see another operator taking a far more anti-customer stance than Serco/Abellio.Good news if you ask me. Better the devil you know as the saying goes.
What's the odds on the DfT advertising the new franchise as another no growth franchise again, in order to save money?
I hope this doesn't happen, but I can very well see it
Finally, as well as merging TPE/Northern, there will be a similar relationship with Network Rail and, who knows, perhaps even a super TPE covering the north of England?
However, the sheer grubbiness of some of their trains is unforgiveable. I know it's a no-growth franchise, but it doesn't excuse the lack of care shown to a not insignificant proportion of their fleet.
I think they\d be idiots if they did have it as no-growth - lines like Hazel Grove - Preston, Man Victoria - Huddersfield tend to be extremely well loaded in my experience of them - which includes travel throughout the day and not just the peaks.
I'd hope that no one would bid for another no-growth franchise, meaning they'd have to let it on a growth basis.