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Bid to make it easier to strip failing rail firms of franchises launched by Lib Dem ex-leader Tim Farron

Tim Farron was Liberal Democrat leader between July 2015 and July 2017.
Tim Farron was Liberal Democrat leader between July 2015 and July 2017.
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“Failing” Train operating companies like Northern rail would face being stripped of their franchises if they provide “diabolical” services under proposed laws to be presented to the House of Commons today.

Former Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron will present new legislation that would make it significantly easier for the Government to strip firms of the franchises that allow them to operate train services on certain lines.

It follows the timetabling chaos of the summer, which resulted in every single train on the Lakes Line which serves Mr Farron’s Westmorland and Lonsdale constituency being cancelled in June.

The Railways (Franchises) Bill comes less than a month after the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) warned “no-one took charge” during the timetable chaos and blamed a lack of “responsibility and accountability”.

Mr Farron said: “The Office of Rail and Road’s recent report found the main reason behind the summer of chaos on our railways was a lack of accountability.

“Liberal Democrats demand better.

“This Bill would mean that the Transport Secretary would no longer be able to shy away from being ultimately responsible for making sure people have a decent train service.

“It would also mean that there will actually be consequences for those companies like Northern and Thameslink who continue to provide diabolical services and treat their customers as nothing more than cattle.”