England

Northern: Passenger reaction to rail firm being nationalised

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Media captionNorthern conductor's frustration on 'overcrowded' train

The north of England's largest rail commuter service has been taken back into public ownership after years of poor performance.

Northern passengers have endured delays, cancellations and overcrowding, with the transport secretary saying "people had lost trust in the rail network".

The government announced it was terminating the existing franchise five years early and would take over the running of the service from 1 March.

For many people who have faced repeated delays travelling on Northern trains, the news is welcomed.

Image caption Sam Barnes said she was in support of the government takeover

Sam Barnes, 56, from Todmorden, West Yorkshire, said: "Good riddance.

"My brother-in-law is a train driver on London routes and when he finishes his shift it takes him ages to get home on Northern as they are always delayed."

Passenger Michael Ball said out of the 20 times he had used Northern trains last week, only twice did they arrive on time.

Image caption Michael Ball said the service had never worked

The 48-year-old from Wakefield, said: "I'm glad it has been axed. It has never worked.

"The other day Northern got a kick up the arse from government, then the next day it was late again."

He added: "We get a raw deal. It's all about London isn't it?"

Image caption Student Martha High said the new service needed to be affordable

Manchester student Martha High said she was "all in favour of nationalisation" and emphasised that the government needed to ensure the new service was on time and affordable.

"I have had some bad experiences with Northern.

"Once I was waiting outside a station in a train for 45 minutes. Other times I have been waiting on my own in lonely Leeds stations on the Leeds line. It was pretty scary."

The 21-year-old added: "When I was working before becoming a student my fare went up overnight from £2 to £12.50."

Engineering student Faisal Hussein said once the service was brought under government control he hoped the situation would improve.

The 19-year-old added: "I have missed lectures and it is difficult to keep catching up with the course."

Image caption Olivia Dale recounted her experience of using Northern trains

Olivia Dale, who had travelled from Pontefract to Leeds for a job interview, has a similarly dim view of Northern.

She said every train she had travelled on to get to the interview had been delayed, adding: "It's shocking. I hope it gets better."

Image caption Janet Ulman said nationalisation would be an improvement

Janet Ulman, who arrived at Newcastle Central Station from Sheffield, described the system as broken and said Northern was "clearly not meeting customers' needs".

"It's unable to deliver but it's part of a wider problem.

"I hope public ownership will improve things. A national rail service would be better again."

Image caption Emma Finnigan said it was important workers' rights were protected

Her comments were echoed by passenger Emma Finnigan, from Darlington, who said nationalisation was a "good thing" but expressed concerns about staff.

"People should not lose their jobs and existing workers' rights should be protected and looked after. That's really important."

However, there was some scepticism over whether the government could revive the franchise.

Andrew Smith, from Dewsbury, said: "It's a bit harsh on Northern, they were running a service.

"I don't think a change will make a difference. It doesn't matter who does it, it's just the same."

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