TransPennine Express to be brought under government control due to ‘continuous cancellations’
The Transport Secretary has today (11 May 2023) announced he will not renew or extend Transpennine Express’s (TPE) contract at the end of the month. This will bring the company into operator of last resort (OLR) from 28 May 2023.
The decision follows 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.
Recent data showed that TransPennine Express had cancelled one in six services during March. The blame for the disruption has been laid at the feet of drivers, a backlog of training and the need to reform working practices.
RAIL union RMT has welcomed the move today to strip the Transpennine Express franchise from rail privateer First Group and bringing it into the government’s operator of last resort which is already running three other rail contracts.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said that it was absolutely right not to renew or extend Transpennine Express’s contract which was something the union has long campaigned for.
“First should now also lose its failed Avanti West Coast contract as part a return of all our railways to public ownership.
“With other parts of our railway already nationalised this decision should now mark the beginning of end for rail privatisation which has brought nothing but chaos for passengers.
“However, it is disappointing to hear Transport Secretary Mark Harper saying that he intends to return TPE to the private sector despite the shambles the service has become,” he said.
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