What did you want for Christmas? A new train set, or a cowboy oufit? That’s what Friends of the Earth were asking rail commuters using Sheffield station on December the 17th. As part of our campaign for a better railway we were encouraging the rail-travelling public to have their say in the Northern re-franchising process.

The Northern rail franchise is a new franchise covering the areas currently run by Arriva Trains Northern and First North Western. It will be up for grabs in 2003/4 and five companies have announced their intention to compete: Arriva Trains, First Group / Keolis SA, Connex, GB Railways, and Serco. The decision will be made by the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) according to a soon to be published specification.

Friends of the Earth want the SRA to use the re-franchising process to improve rail services for the North of England. Specifically we want:
  • Fast, frequent, clean and reliable services
  • New rolling stock- replacement of Pacer trains on the Penistone line
  • New stations, such as at Millhouses, to serve comuters
  • New lines, such as the Woodhead line to Manchester
  • Direct trains between major stations, such as Sheffield to Bradford