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Tag Archives: Northern

New fines launched for train passengers travelling without tickets

PASSENGERS on Northern trains now face on-the-spot fines if they have not bought a ticket before boarding.

The company brought in changes yesterday which will see a team of inspectors patrol stations on the Airedale and Wharfedale lines between Bradford Forster Square, Leeds, Ilkley and Skipton.

Ticketless travellers could get a £20 penalty fare as Northern tries to crack down on fare-dodgers.

But Shipley Conservative MP Philip Davies said there was a risk of passengers being made to feel like criminals. He said: “People who want to and are aiming to pay for a ticket should not be fined.”

He said Northern, as what he called a “monopoly provider”, was behaving in an “unacceptable manner” towards law-abiding people.

He said: “Northern need lessons in customer service. They should restrict themselves to penalising people trying to leave a station having not paid and having not attempted to pay. There are a number of reasons why people may not have a ticket in advance – ticket machines not working, long queues at machines or ticket counters – and those people should not be made to feel like criminals and go through the bureaucracy of appealing against fines.

“I have made clear to Northern if there is just one example of a customer who seeks to pay for a ticket being fined I will do everything I can to see Northern lose this franchise.”

A spokesman for Northern said it was too early to say how many penalty fares had been issued because of the scheme but that new ticket machines had been installed at all stations on the line.

He added that the decision to issue a traveller with a fine will depend on individual circumstances and an appeal process is in place.

Several passengers arriving at Bradford Forster Square yesterday said they did not even know about the fines.

Chloe Burkinshaw from Shipley said: “It’s shocking. I didn’t know about it before today, it’s not been publicised enough.

“I think it’s going to catch me out, especially if I’m running late for my train.”

Lara Aleda, who commutes to Bradford, said: “I don’t think people have been given enough notice, especially people who don’t use the train every day. I only found out because a conductor told me.

“It’s not really going to catch the people who are really dodging fares. It’s a waste of paper.

“It means you’re either going to get fined or you’re going to miss your train.”

Customers paying by cash will need to get a Promise to Pay notice from the ticket machine before getting the train to show the conductor.

Northern said previously that it was introducing the system because reducing the number of people who travel without a ticket is in the interests of customers who pay their fares.

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Bradford school named Northern independent secondary of the year

A BRADFORD school has been named the North’s independent secondary school of the year.

Bradford Grammar School will be awarded the honour in Parent Power, the Sunday Times Schools Guide 2018, published later this week.

As well as taking the title, the Manningham school is also ranked second in the North for results.

The guide identifies the 2,000 highest-achieving schools in the UK, ranked by their recent examination results, and the independent secondary school of the year award goes to a school that demonstrates good grades, improvement and other factors.

Around 83.8 per cent of exams at A-level achieved grades A*-B, up 3.4 percentage points on last year.

The school saw it best GCSE results with 73.7 per cent of entries receiving A*/A grades, compared to 71.1 per cent in 2016.

Alastair McCall, editor of Parent Power, said: “Bradford Grammar is in a good place, combining strong academic performance with a caring culture that encourages all students to excel in their chosen field, both within and outwith the classroom.

“The school explicitly puts pupils’ happiness at the centre of what it does. In an age of growing fears about the pressures put on children to succeed, this enlightened approach helps BGS stand out from the crowd. It’s a deserving winner of our award.”

Head Simon Hinchcliffe said: “Naturally, we are all thrilled that the hard work and achievements of our students have been recognised in such a special way. League tables of any kind do not tell families everything they need to know about an extraordinary school like Bradford Grammar, but it is wonderful to receive such a prestigious accolade nonetheless.

“This is great news for BGS and for Bradford. It also shows what can be achieved when students, teachers and families work together and pull in the same direction. Learning is enjoyable and enriching at Bradford Grammar School and this is why our young people thrive.”

Queen Ethelburga’s College, in York, topped the regional independent rankings and jumped 21 places in this year’s national league table thanks to improved GCSE results.

Six local schools also make up the guide’s top ten state secondary schools in the North.

Skipton Girls’ High School comes second in the table, followed by Ermysted’s Grammar School in Skipton in third place. Ilkley Grammar School is fourth followed by Halifax schools The Crossley Heath School and North Halifax Grammar School in fifth and sixth places. Heckmondwike Grammar School is tenth.

New Northern penalty fares will tackle ticket evaders on the Airedale and Wharfedale lines

ANYONE caught without a train ticket on the Airedale and Wharfedale line could face a penalty fare of £20 from next month.

Train operator Northern is getting ready for the latest phase of a campaign to get all its customers to buy their tickets before they get on board.

The penalty fares system that is already in motion in other parts of the country, will start on the district lines from December 6.

It means any customers travelling without a ticket on a Northern train from that date anywhere between Leeds and Bradford Forster Square, Leeds/Bradford and Ilkley, or Leeds/Bradford and Skipton, could be penalised on the spot.

Posters are going up at stations and leaflets will be handed out to rail passengers to explain all about it.

Tim Calow, chairman of the Aire Valley Rail User’s Group said in principle it is important to stop people without paying but more ticket machines were needed at stations first.

“There are some stations such as Silsden and Steeton where there is only one machine, a five minute walk from other platforms and in Cononley people from the village wanting to go to Skipton will have to cross the level crossing twice to get a ticket first.

“I’ve had e-mails from Northern saying they plan to put in more machines but I doubt it will happen before December 6.”

Paul Barnfield, Regional Director for Northern, said: “The penalty fares are a natural extension of the Buy Before You Board Campaign we launched last year.

“Sadly there is still a minority who believe they have a right to travel without buying a ticket.

“Their actions reduce the overall income of the rail industry and, as a result, reduces the money available to invest in further improvements to the railway.

“Everyone who travels by train should have a valid ticket or pass. Or must be able to demonstrate they have made every effort to buy a ticket before they boarded.

“If they are unable to do either of these then, from December 6, our authorised collectors will be on hand at stations along the routes to either issue £20 fines or ask customers to pay double the cost of a single ticket to their destination.”

Penalty fares have been used by a number of train operators across the country for more than 20 years. The scheme works to a national set of rules which include signs and warning notices at stations. There is also a clear appeals process which has been tried and tested by the industry. Go to northernrailway.co.uk/penalty-fares to find out more.

Passengers without tickets to be hit with on-the-spot fines

RAIL passengers travelling without a ticket on two routes in the Bradford district could be hit with on-the-spot fines in a fresh crackdown on fare dodgers, a rail company has announced.

A team of ‘authorised collectors’ will be positioned at stations along the Airedale and Wharfedale lines to issue £20 ‘penalty fares’ to ticketless travellers.

Train operator Northern is bringing in the changes as part of a campaign to get all its passengers to buy their tickets before they get onboard .

The penalty fares system – already used by other train operators in different parts of the country – will start in the Bradford district on December 6.

It means passengers travelling without a ticket on a Northern train from that date anywhere between Leeds and Bradford Forster Square, Leeds/Bradford and Ilkley, or Leeds/Bradford and Skipton, could be penalised on the spot.

Other stations on those routes include Frizinghall, Shipley, Keighley, Baildon and Guiseley.

Northern says it has invested in new state-of-the-art ticket machines at all stations on the two lines. Posters are going up at stations, while leaflets will be handed out to rail passengers to explain all about it.

Tim Calow, chairman of the Aire Valley Rail User’s Group said that, in principle, it was important to stop people travelling without paying, but more ticket machines were needed at stations first.

“There are some stations such as Silsden and Steeton where there is only one machine – a five minute walk from other platforms, and in Cononley people from the village wanting to go to Skipton will have to cross the level crossing twice to get a ticket first.

“I’ve had emails from Northern saying they plan to put in more machines but I doubt it will happen before December 6.”

Paul Barnfield, regional director for Northern, said: “The penalty fares are a natural extension of the Buy Before You Board Campaign we launched last year.

“Sadly there is still a minority who believe they have a right to travel without buying a ticket.

“Their actions reduce the overall income of the rail industry and, as a result, reduces the money available to invest in further improvements to the railway.

“Everyone who travels by train should have a valid ticket or pass, or must be able to demonstrate they have made every effort to buy a ticket before they boarded.

“If they are unable to do either of these then, from December 6, our authorised collectors will be on hand at stations along the routes to either issue £20 fines or ask customers to pay double the cost of a single ticket to their destination.”

Mr Barnfield spoke of the measures that have been introduced to prevent well-intentioned passengers falling foul of the new crackdown.

He said: “We have invested in new state-of-the-art ticket machines at all stations on the Airedale and Wharfedale lines.

“These machines offer a full range of fares – including discounts.

“With online and mobile ticketing, as well as ticket offices at our staffed stations, there is really no reason for anyone to board a train without a valid ticket.

“For customers who want to pay by cash, our ticket machines will issue Promise to Pay notices which can be exchanged (along with a cash payment) for a ticket when on board the service or at the next available ticket office.”

Penalty fares have been used by a number of train operators across the country for more than 20 years.

The scheme works to a national set of rules which include signs and warning notices at stations. There is also a clear appeals process which has been tried and tested by the industry.

The new scheme seems set to replace a previous ‘failure to purchase’ system, which had prompted complaints from passengers.

Go to northernrailway.co.uk/penalty-fares to find out more about the new scheme.

Rail strikes: Five rail operators hit by RMT walk-out

RMT union members strike
Image caption The RMT union is in dispute over driver-only operated trains, also known as driver-controlled operated trains

Five rail operators are facing disruption due to strike action by the Rail, Maritime and Transport union.

Workers on Southern, Greater Anglia and South Western Railway are striking for 48 hours, while staff on Merseyrail and Northern have walked out for 24 hours.

The union is in dispute over driver-only operated (DOO) trains, also known as driver-controlled operated (DCO).

Aslef is also in dispute with Southern, and will give the result of a ballot of train drivers on a proposed deal later.

The proposed agreement, announced last month, also includes a fiveyear pay deal worth 28.5%.

The executive committee of the train drivers’ union had recommended its members accept the deal.

Safety concerns

Members of the RMT union are mostly conductors.

Its dispute with Southern’s parent company, Govia Thameslink (GTR), over DOO trains has seen a spate of strikes on Southern since April 2016 amid concerns over safety and job losses.

Changes were introduced on Southern in January to make conductors “on-board supervisors” and pass responsibility for closing doors to drivers.

Industrial action by RMT members has only recently spread to other routes across England.

Image copyright PA
Image caption SWT said it planned to operate more than 60% of its normal services on the strike days

Southern said services on most of its routes would operate normally on Wednesday and Thursday, although there would be some alterations.

South Western Railway (SWR), which only took over the franchise from South West Trains in August, plans to run more than 60% of services, and has published a contingency timetable including replacement buses on some routes.

Image caption Greater Anglia plans to run a full service despite the industrial action

Greater Anglia said it would be running a full service during the industrial action, using other trained staff in place of conductors.

Its plan was approved on Tuesday by the Office of Rail and Road, which criticised the company’s contingency arrangements during a strike last month following an incident in which the doors on the wrong side of a train were opened at Ipswich station.

However, the RMT has voiced its concerns about the plans.

General Secretary Mick Cash said: “The only way that Greater Anglia can be running these services is through taking serious risks with public safety just as they did during the last phase of strike action.

“Rail companies are training up rail staff who have previously had no rail operational experience to stand in as highly trained guards.

“In some cases staff are being bussed in by other train companies not involved in the dispute, paid a bounty and put up overnight in hotels.”

Merseyrail said a reduced train service would operate across its network during the 24-hour strike, while Northern said it planned to run more than 1,300 services, mostly between 07:00 and 19:00 GMT.

A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: “This dispute is not about jobs or safety – employees have been guaranteed jobs and salaries. In fact at Southern Rail, where these changes have already been introduced, there are now more staff on trains.

“The independent rail regulator has said driver-controlled trains, which have been used in this country for more than 30 years, are safe.”

Crucial talks to be held in bid to avert upcoming rail strike affecting Bradford

RAIL strikes are set to disrupt local commuters again with planned industrial action due to take place next week.

Crucial talks are to be held over the next two days aimed at averting some of the strikes planned to hit five rail companies, including Northern, in bitter disputes over the role of guards.

The dispute has been going on for around 18 months.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union will walk out for 24 hours on Wednesday, November 8 at Merseyrail and Arriva Rail North, the parent organisation of Northern which operates trains along the Airedale, Wharfedale and Calderdale lines into Bradford district.

The union is meeting Arriva on Friday in a bid to reach deals with the two operators.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “RMT will be attending talks which we hope and expect to be a genuine and serious attempt to reach an agreement on the guarantee of a guard on their trains.

“We will be taking part in what we expect to be genuine and meaningful talks with Arriva Rail North on Friday and, assuming there is no external influencing of the process, there is no reason why we can’t reach a solution based on the principle of a guard on their services.

“We know that the travelling public want the Northern rail dispute resolved in a way that puts safety on the railway before private profit.”

Train operator Northern has said services will be down around 35 per cent on Wednesday and has published revised train times to keep customers on the move.

The company says it plans to run more than 1,300 services, concentrating its efforts on running as many trains as possible between 7am and 7pm to get customers into work and home again.

Northern has added a number of new services to its strike timetable compared to previous RMT strikes. These are additional evening trains at 8.53pm and 10.26pm from Leeds to Skipton, and from Leeds to Ilkley at 9.07pm and 11.15pm.

Northern is advising customers to allow extra time to travel.

Sharon Keith, regional director at Northern, said: “We are doing all we can to keep customers on the move on November 8.

“Rail replacement bus services are available on some routes where trains aren’t running and we ask everyone to plan ahead and keep checking services on our website.”

James Vasey, chairman of Bradford Rail Users Group said: “Though members of our group are split on the guard or no guard issue, we are all concerned for safety.

“The strikes so far have not caused massive disruption and has not immediately benefited the union.

“The union needs to accept that the jobs are not going to be the same jobs they have been for the past 10 years and rail operators have said there is still going to be a second member of staff but not acting as a guard.

“Both unions and the operators need to accept it will change but our concern is for the

“As far as the talks go I don’t think they are a million miles away from each other and it is the small details they are arguing over.”

Campaigners have the perfect platform for station improvements

Improvement work is on track at one of the district’s rail stations, as the efforts of a group of volunteers is praised.

Work has started at Baildon station, including the installation of a new ticket machine and a passenger shelter with CCTV.

These were two of the main changes requested by passengers following a survey carried out by the Friends of Baildon Station (FOBS) group.

Northern, which runs service on the line, said the work would be completed within the next month.

Gill Dixon, Baildon Town councillor and member of FOBS, said: “It is fantastic that Northern have listened to our survey results and taken action to address some of the issues which the public said were important.

“These facilities will really make a difference to everyone who uses the train at Baildon. It is very encouraging.”

FOBS’ efforts were also praised by Northern bosses.

Richard Isaac, regional community and sustainability manager for Northern, said: “I would like to thank FOBS for highlighting the issues on station since their recent establishment.

“We have listened to the views and opinions of the communities we serve in Baildon and the recent investment by Arriva Northern in Baildon station is a direct result.

“FOBS have forged a great partnership with Arriva Northern, which has resulted in a transformation of the station.

“The station now has a buzz about it and is quickly becoming a gateway to the village to be proud of. In the Arriva Northern franchise area FOBS are a great example of how a small group of volunteers with a vision to support their local community can make a massive difference and they should be proud of their achievements in such a short period of time.”

Passengers will also have seen improvements to the station’s appearance after Baildon Station Blooms – a small group of volunteers – carried out planting, tidying and general upkeep of the site. Other future changes following FOBS’ survey may include a toilet for passengers at Shipley station. Baildon passengers often have to wait for at least 20 minutes at Shipley, if they are travelling onto Leeds. A total of 83 per cent of passengers who answered FOBS’ survey called for this change.

Following a site visit between FOBS and Northern staff, options are now being costed as a first step to providing this facility.

FOBS has also successfully lobbied for two service changes, including a crucial bus timetable amendment, so the 656 bus arrives slightly later to collect passengers on the train arriving at 5.28pm. An improved Sunday train service from Baildon will be introduced from December 17.

Bradford’s Mill Lane signal box among six to close across West Yorkshire in railway signalling revamp

A RAILWAY signal box that has stood at the throat of Bradford Interchange for many decades is due to close next year, rail chiefs have revealed.

The traditional lineside signal box, at the city’s Mill Lane Junction, is among six across West Yorkshire that are set to be shut.

The others are at Halifax, Hebden Bridge, Huddersfield, Healey Mills near Ossett, and Milner Royd near Sowerby Bridge.

Sections of track currently controlled by the doomed signal boxes will be ‘recontrolled’ to a state-of-the-art Rail Operating Centre in York.

The changes are part of the Great North Rail Project, a large-scale programme of improvements to transform train travel for passengers in the North.

When asked about the timescale for the signal box closures and any possible redundancies in Bradford, a Network Rail spokesman said: “The signalling programme is taking part in two phases, the first finishes in January 2018.

“After this phase, the signal boxes at Huddersfield and Healey Mills will be shut and control moved to York. The remaining boxes, including Mill Lane Junction, will be shut and control switched over to York in October 2018.

“In terms of people who work there (Mill Lane) now, there are no compulsory redundancies. Those who work in the box are being offered other roles within Network Rail.”

The project is perhaps the most significant overhaul of Bradford’s railway signalling system since 1973, when the current station opened to replace Bradford Exchange.

At that point, all semaphore signals were abolished and the new colour light signalling system was installed, with those lights controlled by a panel in Mill Lane signal box, with full track circuiting extending to Bowling Junction, with all points being motor operated.

Network Rail says the latest upgrade is expected to result in more modern, cost-effective and reliable services, but the work will also bring short-term disruption to rail passengers in West Yorkshire.

The next significant works are due to take place on Saturday, October 28 and Sunday, October 29.

During this weekend, both Huddersfield and Dewsbury stations will be closed, with no train services travelling through them.

TransPennine Express and Northern will operate up to 25 buses per hour to keep passengers moving between Leeds, Manchester, Halifax, Wakefield, Huddersfield, Dewsbury, Stalybridge and Bradford.

Rob McIntosh, route managing director for Network Rail, said: “We appreciate that there is never a good time to disrupt passengers and we are advising anyone wishing travel to plan their journeys ahead of time to avoid disappointment.

“The signalling system in this part of West Yorkshire is approaching the end of its operational life and this investment will increase reliability, thereby reducing delays, while cutting the cost of running the railway for the taxpayer.”

Paul Barnfield, regional director at Northern, said: “This vital work is the latest part of the Great North Rail Project which is transforming the rail infrastructure across the north of England.”

The Airedale and Wharfedale lines are not part of this project.

Storm damage causing major disruption on railways

DAMAGE caused overnight by Storm Ophelia has caused serious disruption to trains leaving Bradford Interchange this morning.

Several trees have fallen onto the railway lines between Hebden Bridge and the Interchange, and there are further reports of a potential landslide on the railway.

Trees are now also blocking both lines near Sowerby Bridge.

Northern rail services running between Bradford Interchange and Halifax will be cancelled or diverted via Brighouse, with the disruption expected to last until 2pm.

Northern has said replacement bus services have been requested, however coach companies are also reporting poor road and driving conditions for their vehicles, with several roads affected by fallen trees.

Coaches have been requested to Bradford Interchange, Brighouse and Hebden Bridge.

Rail chaos in Bradford as Storm Ophelia blocks tracks

DAMAGE caused overnight by Storm Ophelia has caused serious disruption to trains leaving Bradford Interchange this morning.

Several trees have fallen onto the railway lines between Hebden Bridge and the Interchange, and there are further reports of a potential landslide on the railway.

Trees are now also blocking both lines near Sowerby Bridge.

Northern rail services running between Bradford Interchange and Halifax will be cancelled or diverted via Brighouse, with the disruption expected to last until 2pm.

Northern has said replacement bus services have been requested, however coach companies are also reporting poor road and driving conditions for their vehicles, with several roads affected by fallen trees.

Coaches have been requested to Bradford Interchange, Brighouse and Hebden Bridge.