West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin has won the backing of four other Northern mayors for her call for the Government to take over failing rail operator TransPennine Express (TPE).
TPE’s contract to deliver rail services across the North expires on May 28 and Mayor Brabin – a regular rail commuter from her home in Slaithwaite – says its time is up.
Speaking at a board meeting of Transport for the North in Leeds on Thursday, Mayor Brabin urged the Government to merge TPE with Northern, which it is currently running as the “operator of last resort.”
The Mayors of Greater Manchester, Liverpool City Region, South Yorkshire and North of the Tyne supported her call.
The rail operator, Northern, was taken over by the Department for Transport three years ago following appalling levels of service and poor industrial relations. It has since improved services for passengers.
Following the meeting, Mayor Brabin said: “The woeful TransPennine Express has reached its final destination. What is now required is a fresh start under new management to deliver services that passengers can rely on.
“A merger with Northern creates an opportunity to do exactly that – resetting how the company is managed and securing a better deal for passengers.
“The clock is ticking and ministers have just eight weeks to decide whether they are going to reward failure.”
A recent poll of rail passengers in the North voted overwhelmingly in favour for stripping TPE of its contract, which Ms Brabin called for back in the autumn. So far 92% have said this must happen, following months of cancellations and delays.