Marketing teams under threat at merged rail franchise

The creation of new rail franchise Northern threatens the jobs of the commercial and marketing teams at Arriva Trains Northern and First North Western (FNW).

The Strategic Rail Authority has named Serco as the “preferred bidder” for the Northern franchise that will take in Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield.

The area was previously divided between Arriva and First Group. The planned handover calls into question the roles of commercial director Heidi Mottram and advertising and promotions manager Tony Hargrave at Arriva and commercial director Denise Lennox and marketing manager Kate Plowright at FNW.

A spokesman for FNW said that personnel could be transferred to the new franchise-holder but consultations had only just begun. First Group was recently given preferred bidder status for the ScotRail franchise (MW June 17).

Serco is working in partnership with Dutch state operator Ned Railways and the consortium snatched the Merseyside Rail franchise from Arriva last year. The new franchise comes into operation in the autumn.

The two train operators spent &£250,000 on advertising in the year to March. First Group operates a roster of agencies for its transport interests and Arriva used regional agencies on an ad hoc basis.

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