12 December 2004 – 4 February 2016
|Main Region(s):||North West, North East,
Yorkshire and the Humber
|Other Region(s):||East Midlands and Staffordshire|
|Stations called at:||526|
|Passenger km 2007/8:||1,831.9 million|
|Route km operated:||2,695.7|
|National Rail abbreviation:||NT|
Northern runs a mix of commuter rural and some longer-distance services around Cheshire, County Durham, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside, Northumberland, Teesside, Tyne and Wear and Yorkshire. Northern's services also extend to the north Midland counties of Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, and Staffordshire. Most services are supported by passenger transport executives. Of all the Train Operating Companies in the UK, Northern Rail operates the most stations.
In 2000 the Strategic Rail Authority announced that it planned to reorganise the North West Regional Railways and Regional Railways North East franchises operated by First North Western and Arriva Trains Northern. A TransPennine Express franchise would be created for the long distance regional services with the remaining services to be operated by a new Northern franchise.
On 1 July 2004 the Strategic Rail Authority awarded the franchise to Serco-NedRailways, beating FirstGroup. The franchise was awarded for six years and nine months, with a two-year extension subject to performance targets being achieved.
Serco-NedRailways' bid had assumed that some Class 142 Pacers trains would be released imminently when Manchester Metrolink services started between Manchester and Oldham. Due to a substantial delay in extending the Metrolink, it became clear that this was not going to be the case. As a result the contract signing was delayed, and the services operated by First North Western and Arriva Trains Northern did not transfer to Northern until 12 December 2004.
In May 2010 the Department for Transport confirmed that Northern had met the performance targets, and the franchise was extended for two years until September 2013. In May 2012 the Department for Transport granted Northern a six-month extension until 31 March 2014. In March 2013 the Secretary of State for Transport announced the franchise would be further extended to 4 February 2016.
In December 2008 Northern Rail introduced an express service from Leeds to Nottingham calling at Wakefield Kirkgate, Barnsley, Meadowhall, Sheffield, Dronfield, Chesterfield, Alfreton and Langley Mill using a Class 158 unit.
Services on the route from Thorpes Bridge Junction, Newton Heath to Rochdale East Junction via Oldham, known as the Oldham Loop Line, ceased on 3 October 2009. The line was subsequently converted for Metrolink operation and reopened as a Metrolink route in 2012.
Northern Rail won Public Transport Operator of the Year 2007 at the National Transport Awards and was praised by the judges for attracting 20% more passengers since 2004. When the extension of its franchise was announced, Northern stated that it had improved punctuality from 83.7% in the 12 months to December 2004 to 91.6% in the 12 months to May 2010, meaning that around 200 more trains per day were on time than in 2004.
In the period 15 October 2009 to 14 November 2009, Northern's punctuality was 91.1% and reliability was 92.2%. Northern's passenger charter targets are 91% for punctuality and 99% for reliability.
The franchise agreement commits to a 15% reduction in delays in the first five years and to a new 'incentive/penalty regime' and a more 'local focus on performance'.
The annual report for 2012, published in March 2013, of the Nederlandse Spoorwegen stated that Northern Rail transported 263,000 passengers daily. The customer satisfaction decreased to 80%. In May 2011 Northern Rail received the "Sustainable Business of the Year" award.
Northern Rail operates a large diesel fleet, which is used on most services. There is also a smaller electric fleet used on shorter distance services around Leeds and Manchester.
In March 2007 Northern announced it would be acquiring a further 30 Class 158s from Arriva Trains Wales, Central Trains and First Great Western to replace 26 Class 142 Pacers. Northern ended up only receiving 19 Class 158s, but did gain eight centre carriages from East Midlands Trains in 2008 that were inserted into Northern’s ex First North Western Class 158s. Over 20 Class 142 Pacers were placed in store but reactivated by the end of 2008 with 12 sublet to First Great Western from December 2008 and the balance returning to service with Northern.
In Autumn 2008 five Class 142 Pacers returned from First Great Western with the remaining seven following in Autumn 2011.
In January 2015 it was confirmed Chiltern Railways will take five of the First TransPennine Class 170s from May 2015. First TransPennine will sublease class 156 trains off Northern Rail (which were originally intended to be used for extra capacity on Northern Rail services) to cover for the shortfall until February 2016. 
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (January 2009)|
|Class||Image||Type||Top speed||Number||Routes operated||Built|
|Class 142 Pacer||Diesel multiple unit||75||120||79||Manchester Victoria/Airport - Wigan Wallgate/Southport/Kirkby, Chester - Manchester Piccadilly via Altrincham, Southport - Chester via Altrincham (Sundays only), Manchester Piccadilly - New Mills Central/Rose Hill Marple, Leeds - Morecambe/Lancaster/Sheffield/York, Liverpool Lime Street - Manchester Victoria/Manchester Oxford Road/Blackpool North/Warrington Bank Quay, Huddersfield - Manchester Victoria, Colne - Blackpool South, Cumbrian Coast, Newcastle - Hexham/Middlesbrough, Bishop Auckland/Darlington - Saltburn, Middlesbrough - Hexham, Peak-time Crewe/Alderley Edge/Macclesfield-Manchester Piccadilly services, Metrocentre & Newcastle - Morpeth & Chathill, Sheffield - Lincoln, Hull - York||1985–7|
|Class 144 Pacer||Diesel multiple unit||75||120||23||Leeds - Harrogate/York/Manchester Victoria (stopper)/Huddersfield/Goole/Sheffield/Morecambe, Sheffield/Wakefield Westgate - Huddersfield, Sheffield - Scunthorpe/Lincoln||1986–7|
|Class 150/1 Sprinter||Diesel multiple unit||75||120||30||Manchester Victoria - Clitheroe/Leeds/Selby, Colne - Blackpool South, Manchester Piccadilly - Buxton/Sheffield/Rose Hill Marple, Liverpool Lime Street - Wigan North Western/Blackpool North/Manchester Victoria/Warrington Bank Quay, Manchester Victoria/Airport - Wigan Wallgate/Southport/Kirkby, Chester - Manchester Piccadilly via Altrincham, Southport - Chester via Altrincham (Sundays only)||1984–7|
|Class 150/2 Sprinter||Diesel multiple unit||75||120||30||Manchester Victoria - Clitheroe/Leeds, Huddersfield - Selby, Colne - Blackpool South, Wakefield Kirkgate - Knottingley, Manchester Piccadilly - Buxton/Sheffield/Rose Hill Marple, Liverpool Lime Street - Wigan North Western/Blackpool North/Manchester Victoria/Warrington Bank Quay, Manchester Victoria/Airport - Wigan Wallgate/Southport, Chester - Manchester Piccadilly via Altrincham, Southport - Chester via Altrincham (Sundays only)||1984–7|
|Class 153 Super Sprinter||Diesel multiple unit||75||120||18||Manchester Victoria - Clitheroe, Colne - Blackpool South, Preston - Ormskirk, Leeds - Knottingley, Wakefield Kirkgate - Knottingley, Cumbrian Coast Line. Also seen coupled to other trains for additional capacity, sometimes seen in South Yorkshire replacing services usually run by Pacers.||1987–8
|Class 155 Super Sprinter||Diesel multiple unit||75||120||7||Caldervale Line, Harrogate line||1987–8|
|Class 156 Super Sprinter||Diesel multiple unit||75||120||42||Colne - Blackpool South (Usually on Sundays only), Cumbrian Coast, Newcastle - Carlisle, Blackpool North - Manchester Victoria, Preston - Hazel Grove, /Manchester Airport/Oxford Road/Victoria - Liverpool Lime Street, Liverpool Lime Street - Wigan North Western/Blackpool North/Manchester Victoria/Warrinton Bank Quay, Manchester Piccadilly - Rose Hill Marple/Buxton/Sheffield, Helsby - Ellsemere Port, Manchester Victoria/Airport - Wigan Wallgate/Southport/Kirkby, Chester - Manchester Piccadilly via Altrincham, Southport - Chester via Altrincham (Sundays only), Nunthorpe to Hexham (Select journeys only), Middlesbrough - Whitby, Middlesbrough - Carlisle (1 in 3 services only)||1987–9|
|Class 158 Express Sprinter||Diesel multiple unit||90||140||43||Express services including York - Blackpool North, Nottingham - Sheffield - Leeds via Barnsley, Hull-York, Sheffield/Hull - Bridlington/Scarborough, Leeds - Carlisle, Leeds - Bradford-Manchester Victoria,
Also occasionally seen on the Harrogate Line and other services as a replacement for booked Class 142/144/150s etc.
|Class 321/9||Electric multiple unit||100||160||3||Wakefield Line
Leeds - Doncaster
Also used on peak-time weekday services on the Airedale and Wharfedale lines
|Class 322||Electric multiple unit||100||160||5||Wakefield Line
Leeds - Doncaster
Also used on peak-time weekday services on the Airedale and Wharfedale lines
|Class 323||Electric multiple unit||90||140||17||Electrified routes in and out of Manchester Piccadilly:
Manchester Piccadilly - Alderley Edge/Crewe/Glossop/Hadfield/Hazel Grove/Macclesfield/ Manchester Airport/Stoke-on-Trent
|Class 333||Electric multiple unit||100||160||16||Wharfedale Line
Leeds and Bradford - Shipley - Ilkley
Leeds and Bradford - Shipley - Keighley - Skipton
|Class||Image||Type||Top speed||Number||Routes operated||Notes||Built|
|Class 319||electric multiple unit||100||161||14||Newly electrified routes
* Manchester Victoria/Manchester Airport to Liverpool via Earlestown
* Services between Manchester/Liverpool and Preston/Blackpool with exact services and frequency to be confirmed when the next franchise is awarded
|Fourteen units will commence operation from May 2015 (after completion of a refurbishment and repaint) between Liverpool and Manchester with more units and routes coming later.||1990|
|Locomotive-hauled carriage stock||TBC||TBC||TBC||TBC||TBC||Cumbrian Coast Line||From May 2015, Direct Rail Services will run services on behalf of Northern Rail on the Cumbrian Coast Line (Monday to Friday).||TBC|
As of 2009, Northern Rail operated 471 stations; more than any other train operating company in the UK. The number fell to 462 later in the same year following closure of the Oldham Loop Line, and increased to 463 by 2013. New stations include Buckshaw Parkway in 2011 and James Cook in 2014. As of 2013, trains operated by Northern Rail called at 526 stations.
The depots used by Northern Rail are at:
- Hull Botanic Gardens (BG)
- Blackpool North LMD (BP)
- Barrow-in-Furness (BW)
- Carlisle Station (Overnight cleaning)
- Heaton (Newcastle upon Tyne) (HT)
- Neville Hill (Leeds) (NL)
- Newton Heath (Manchester) (NH)
- Sheffield Station (SM)
- Workington (WK) (overnight cleaning for Cumbrian Coast)
- Buxton (BX) (Overnight Cleaning Depot)
- Allerton (AN)
- Train Crew Depots
- Darlington (Driver only)
- Middlesbrough (guard only)
- Blackpool North
- Liverpool Lime Street
- Wigan Wallgate
- Manchester Victoria
- Manchester Piccadilly
- Hull Paragon
Northern Rail operates a total of 102 Pacer trains, more than any other train operator in Britain. These were built on a low budget during the 1980s recession and the upper body is based on a Leyland National bus. Many passengers are unhappy with the ride quality of these trains, noting that they provide an uncomfortable ride, are very noisy when going around bends, and are far too small for the number of passengers travelling today. One politician has even said they are not safe, but this was strongly denied by the company and the government. High fares in non-PTE areas adds to criticism about what some called life-expired trains being used.
Northern Rail has a tough approach on fare evasion, and has been known to take passengers to court for underpaying by a matter of pence even where the company has no concrete proof. Northern Rail tried to prosecute one passenger who they claimed had tried to avoid paying part of his fare but the court case failed, costing Northern over £2,000 in legal fees. The court case was believed to have failed as Northern requires some passengers to carry special tickets saying which station they boarded at and tried to use that as evidence of attempting to combat fare evasion by not having passengers paying for shorter journeys than they make. However, any such requirement to force a passenger to produce a special ticket to prove where they boarded would be a breach of the National Rail Conditions of Carriage, to which both passengers and rail operators must adhere.
Due to increased passenger numbers, Northern has installed new ticket machines at some stations. However, these do not sell the full range of tickets, for instance they do not sell Cheap Evening Returns, so that in the evening passengers can pay double the fare that they need to pay for the journey they are making, if they purchase tickets from the machine. Northern Duo tickets are also unavailable from these machines and can be purchased only from an open ticket office or on the train.
Northern Rail Class 323 passing Godley railway station
Northern Rail Class 323 at Godley railway station
- Companies House extract company no 4619954 Northern Rail Limited
- The Trans-Pennine Express rail franchise Yorkshire & The Humber Transport Activist's Roundtable Briefing Note October 2001
- "Serco-NedRailways Announced as Preferred Bidder for new Northern Rail Franchise" (Press release). Strategic Rail Authority. 1 July 2004. Archived from the original on 25 August 2009. Retrieved 23 June 2009.
- "Mid Cheshire Rail Report No.62". Mid Cheshire Rail Users Association. Christmas 2004. Retrieved 23 June 2009. Check date values in:
- Rail (492) (Peterborough). 21 July 2004. p. 14.
- "Mid Cheshire Rail Report No.61". Mid Cheshire Rail Users Association. Autumn 2004.
- "Northern Secures Two Year Franchise Extension" (Press release). Northern Rail. 13 May 2010. Retrieved 6 September 2010.
- "Northern Rail granted franchise continuation". Rail.co. 10 May 2012. Retrieved 10 May 2012.
- Franchise Continuation for Northern Rail Northern News 9 May 2012
- Contract News Update 14 Serco Press Release
- "Railway plan puts new focus on passengers" Secretary of State for Transport statement 26 March 2013
- Shortlist for Northern and TransPennine operators revealed Department for Transport 19 August 2014
- Extra Leeds Nottingham Train Services Announced Northern News 22 November 2006
- Northern Introduces New Nottingham - Leeds Service Northern News 12 December 2008
- "Oldham Loop rail line closure". GMPTE information poster. Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive. September 2009. Archived from the original on 6 July 2012. Retrieved 5 October 2009.
- "Northern Rail Wins Public Transport Operator of the Year" (Press release). Northern Rail. 16 August 2007. Retrieved 31 May 2008.
The judges praised the company, which runs local and regional trains across the north of England, for its success in attracting 20% more passengers since it started in 2004.
- Performance figures, Northern Rail.
- "New Northern Rail Franchise Signed" (Press release). Strategic Rail Authority. 19 October 2004. Archived from the original on 25 August 2009. Retrieved 22 December 2008.
- "Rail performance results period 7". Network Rail. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
- Annual report 2012
- Rail Magazine (551), 25 October 2006: 55
- Angel Trains Leases 30 Class 158 Diesel Multiple Units to Northern Rail Northern News 19 March 2007
- Rail Magazine (562), 28 March 2007: 17
- Rail Magazine (580), 5 December 2007: 12
- Rail Magazine (583), 16 January 2008: 45
- Rail Magazine (606), 3 December 2008: 69
- Class 322 scot-rail.co.uk
- "Freedom of Information Request 2011". 24 January 2011. Archived from the original on 24 January 2011.
- "Metro and Northern introduce new look for Yorkshire trains" (Press release). Northern Rail. 10 November 2006. Retrieved 6 January 2009.
- "Northern launches first regular direct service between Nottingham and Leeds for 25 years" (Press release). Northern Rail. 15 December 2008. Archived from the original on 27 July 2011.
- "Yorkshire and Humber Route Utilisation Strategy Draft". Network Rail. Retrieved 23 June 2009.
- "Integrated Services -- Partner for Your Success" (PDF). Siemens Transportation Systems. p. 9. Retrieved 31 October 2010.
- "Northern Announces Electric Trains For North West". Northern Rail News. 2 April 2014. Retrieved 3 April 2014.
- Transforming Northern’s Revenue Protection Update - Transport for Greater Manchester Committee. Retrieved 2014-10-26.
- "Loco-hauled Services to Return to the Cumbrian Coast". Railway Herald. 8 January 2015. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
- Better Rail Stations – Part B, Department for Transport, 2009
- Action stations booklet, Network Rail, 2009
- Transformation in Partnership – Northern Prospectus, Department for Transport, June 2014
- "Pacer line users - RailUK Forums". Railforums.co.uk. Retrieved 19 September 2011.
- "Pacer's or Roof??? - RailUK Forums". Railforums.co.uk. Retrieved 19 September 2011.
- "MP says trains in area are 'unsafe'". Lancashire Evening Post (Preston). 17 February 2009. Retrieved 19 September 2011.
- Siddle, John (2 January 2009). "Northern Rail, which runs the Southport to Manchester line, told to improve its services after announcing ticket price hikes". Southport Visiter. Retrieved 19 September 2011.
- "Law student gets £1,000 bill". Yorkshire Post (Leeds). 9 March 2006. Retrieved 19 September 2011.
- Linton, Deborah (27 May 2011). "Commuter finally cleared over 50p train fare fraud after 11-month legal battle costing thousands". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 19 September 2011.
- "National Rail Conditions of Carriage". National Rail. Retrieved 20 September 2011.
- "Northern Rail Self Service Ticket Machines". Railforums.co.uk. Retrieved 19 September 2011.
- "Offers - Cheap Evening Return (Greater Manchester area)". Northern Rail. 2 January 2011. Retrieved 19 September 2011.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Northern Rail.|
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