Statement from Lou Cordwell OBE, Chair of the Greater Manchester Business Board (LEP), on the Government’s decision to not renew or extend TransPennine Express’s contract. 

“We welcome today’s decision by the Department for Transport to not renew its contract with TransPennine Express. It is an important step towards providing the reliable train services that people, businesses and investors in Greater Manchester and the wider North so desperately need.

“The consistently poor performance of TransPennine Express has caused significant damage to the economy of our city-region. The result of thousands of cancelled services – as many as one in six, often with just a few hours’ notice – is cancelled events, lost sales, and a decline footfall in our towns and city centres. The estimated cost to the North is almost £4m a week in lost productivity.

“This has come at a time of unprecedented difficulty for businesses, who can ill afford to deal with the additional challenge brought on by an inadequate rail service.

“The Government brought Northern under the control of the Operator of Last Resort in 2018 and, while challenges remain, the change in management has led to significant improvements. A similar outcome in this situation can deliver stability and long-term change, helping to restore confidence in our rail system.

“By working with the Department for Transport, northern Mayors, Transport for the North and other business groups, we will ensure our towns and cities are connected by a rail service that is fit for purpose. In doing so we can help the Government deliver on its promise to level up the North.”