Restructure for rail operator ahead of upgrades

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Rail operator Northern has announced a restructure to create four new business regions, which it claims will play a key role in transforming rail travel throughout the North.

A regional centre will be created in Leeds alongside others in Manchester, Preston and Newcastle from which regional directors will lead the delivery of wide-ranging changes announced on Arriva’s launch of the new Northern franchise in April.

It will go live on July 1.

Its Leeds-based East division will be its biggest and incorporate an area that includes Sheffield and is bordered by Hull, Nottingham, Todmorden and Armathwaite.

It will be headed up by Paul Barnfield.

Alex Hynes, managing director said: “The transformation we will deliver is a once in a generation opportunity.

“Regions are at the heart of our new franchise.

“They will enable the transformation of Northern, bringing our people and service delivery closer to the communities and customers we serve. They will utilise our extensive knowledge of local customer needs and transport opportunities to build railway services that meet the needs of their region.

Northern operates as one of the largest transport networks in the UK, with more than 16,000 weekly train services serving 15 million people. Over the next four years it will see a £1 billion pound investment that will rollout 281 new carriages and a 37 per cent increase in peak time capacity and revamped ticketing.

Arriva Rail was awarded the Northern franchise in December, covering the majority of local services while FirstGroup will run Transpennine Express services connecting Yorkshire to the North-West.