Government ends TransPennine Express rail contract May 11, 2023

TransPennine Express will be under Government control as TransPennine Trains from May 29The Government's Transport Secretary Mark Harper has announced that he will end the rail contract of TransPennine Express which expires on May 28.

TransPennine Express will be brought under the "operator of last resort" — that being the UK Government.

TransPennine Express is currently run by First TransPennine Express Ltd, part of First Group plc, but the ownership of the company will transfer to TransPennine Trains Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of DfT OLR Holdings Ltd (Department for Transport Operator of Last Resort), the public group which is also responsible for the companies running LNER and Northern — which also operate services in Yorkshire — and also Southeastern.

Making the announcement Mr Harper said: "In my time as Transport Secretary, I have been clear that passenger experience must always come first. After months of commuters and Northern businesses bearing the brunt of continuous cancellations, I’ve made the decision to bring Transpennine Express into operator of last resort."

"This is not a silver bullet and will not instantaneously fix a number of challenges being faced, including ASLEF’s actions which are preventing Transpennine Express from being able to run a full service – once again highlighting why it’s so important that the railways move to a 7-day working week.

"We have played our part, but ASLEF now need to play theirs by calling off strikes and the rest day working ban, putting the very fair and reasonable pay offer to a democratic vote of their members."

TransPennine Express has faced huge changes in public opinion in recent years, having carried out station improvements and relieved some of the problems of overcrowding with new trains it has gone on to face huge criticism over reduced timetables and continuing problems of late cancellations.

The Department of Transport said the decision followed months of significant disruption and regular cancellations across Transpennine Express’s network, which has resulted in a considerable decline in confidence for passengers who rely on the trains to get to work, visit family and friends and go about their daily lives.

Confirming the transfer, TransPennine Express said: "All tickets remain valid and customers should continue to use and purchase tickets in the normal manner."

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