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.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here