To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken since becoming operator of last resort of the Northern Rail franchise to increase the number of route-qualified drivers to enable a full timetable of passenger services to be delivered.
15 September 2020
Northern Trains Ltd (NTL) had been rolling out a major driver training programme for its new trains prior to the Covid -19 lockdown, however in line with the rest of the rail industry, driver training was suspended due to the epidemic. The operator is trialling a process to ensure the safety of the driver and a trainer in a cab, and is using technology to support training outside of the cab including use of Virtual Reality simulations. NTL has also been working with health advisors to enable those previously classed as shielded or vulnerable to return to work where appropriate and it has put together a driver recruitment plan.