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Kirklees councillor backs re-nationalisation of Northern Rail

By Haleema Saheed

A Kirklees Councillor has backed a government minister’s suggestion that Northern Rail should be re-nationalised.

Last week, Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport, suggested that Northern Rail – which is currently owned by Arriva – should be re-nationalised and brought back into public ownership.

Between September 15 and October 12, 2019, only 53.5 per cent of Northern trains ran on time and 98 per cent of trains came within 15 minutes of the expected time, according to Northern Rail.

Councillor Shabir Pandor of Batley West, Kirklees, told Yorkshire Voice: “The [Northern] rail should be nationalised as I believe there would be better accountability, openness and transparency that would lead to better outcomes for citizens.

“It is vitally important that Kirklees and the surrounding area has a transport system that is efficient and cost-effective for its passengers.

“There is a north-south divide on the amount of investment that goes into our rail network.

“Over the last 10 years, Londoners enjoyed an annual average £708 of transport spending per person, while just £289 was spent per for each person in the north of England,” the councillor said.

Northern and Arriva say they are investing £600 million and remain committed to transforming the rail network in the north.

Leading politicians in the north of England have demanded a cut in fares for routes that still use pacer trains, which were supposed to be retired by the end of the year.

These trains are not in accordance with the new disability regulations that came out at the start of the new year and they will not be retired by 2020, as promised by the franchise.

Humairaa Bhana, 22 is a regular commuter on the Dewsbury to Huddersfield train line. She said: “The increase in delays and cancellations causes me great distress as a cancelled train can lead to the rest of the day being delayed, which can affect jobs being done and deadlines being met.”

With commuters relying heavily on the rail network to get across the north daily, significant delays can cause major disruption.

Aaliah Romah, a Huddersfield university student, said: “As a commuter, I especially find early mornings and five o’clock finishes very stressful, knowing the train is going to be delayed, packed and less frequent than needed.

“The commute isn’t really that long, but it can really add up with delays and cancellations.”

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