Connections Express – May 2019

Wed, May 29th, 2019

Northern Rail bulletin

Welcome to our May edition of Connections Express

It’s a time of change for the rail industry as the new summer timetable comes into effect from Sunday 19 May. Full details of the changes are available on our website and have been publicised to customers through a range of channels over the last few weeks, including websites, social media, news media, meet-the-manager events, posters and flyers, and direct emails.

There were many lessons to learn from the experiences of last year in May, when the service we provided to many customers was unacceptable, and we continue to apply the lessons learned from the various independent reviews of what happened and why.

There is a comprehensive timetable planning and assurance programme in place, involving Network Rail, operators and external partners, and I am confident that Northern’s preparation and planning is completed which will allow us to deliver the planned summer timetable for customers.

We have completed more than 1,800 days of traincrew training for the summer timetable, the planning for deployment of trains, drivers and conductors is now complete, and we will have managers at all our key locations during the morning and evening peak periods to monitor delivery and provide additional customer support.

The headlines for the summer timetable are that we will operate more than 18,000 services per week, a record for Northern, which means that since the start of the franchise in 2016 we will be operating 2,200 extra services per week.

There are some notable improvements to mention, including the first weekday service to Gainsborough Central for 30 years, a new hourly Chester to Leeds service and improved frequency between Newcastle and Carlisle.

As we approach this timetable change, we’re building on an encouraging trend of improving performance, with 88% of train services meeting their performance target in April, but as I’ve said before, we are aiming higher because we know that punctuality, reliability and capacity delivery are vital to customers. We continue to work closely with industry partners to identify and address key issues affecting the running of our services. Internally, we’re focusing on getting the basics right from what happens on depot, into station and throughout the journey.

In the last issue of Connections Express, we told you about a small mechanical design issue that had been identified on our brand-new trains. A solution has now been implemented and you’ll see the new trains back in testing and driver training across the network. Some of the electric fleet have already made the trip across the Pennines to begin testing in Yorkshire. The first new trains will enter customer service in the summer and our refurbishment of the existing fleet continues. Overall, Arriva has invested £100 million in just more than three years to provide more trains, better stations and other improvements for customers.

You’ll find a range of stories below including updates on our marketing and retailing activity, the launch of our new suicide prevention campaign ‘All Right?’, making stations more accessible and news from community groups.

Finally, I’m very pleased that we have been reaccredited to the Investors In People Silver Award, retaining it at a new and more demanding standard. It is a fantastic recognition of excellence in people practices and investment in our people. It also allows us to attract talented people to join us as we continue to invest in and a deliver a better experience for our customers.

David Brown
Managing Director

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