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Customer Information -
Busy weekend Merseyside and Cheshire 28/29 May
Customer Information -
New timetables and planned disruption

What we do

We run more than 2,500 passenger services every day across the North of England, calling at more than 500 stations. The local and regional services we provide bring rail travel to diverse communities serving a population of nearly 15 million. In fact, two thirds of rail journeys in the North are on our services. And our services give customers many opportunities to connect onto the long-distance rail network too.  

We manage 469 stations across the North. We don’t own the stations, but we lease them from Network Rail who are managers of the railway infrastructure.  

Our long-term vision is to: 

“Make a positive impact for the North in all we do and for all we serve”   

Our business plan

Our business plan sets out how we aim to achieve our long-term vision through our strategic ambitions, objectives, values and behaviours. The plan was developed in 2021 and it gives us the foundations to thrive in the long-term to 2030 and beyond.  

Our objectives cover the short, medium and long-term. Download a summary of our business plan to find out more.    

Our people 

Keeping the railway running 24-7 is a complex job and our dedicated teams, across the North, work together to keep people safe and make sure we maintain the very best service. They also work with industry partners too, such as other train operating companies and Network Rail. Find out more about how we work with others

Northern employs around nearly 7,000 people and many of these work in operational roles. We also have teams working in engineering, at stations and retail, along with support services such as finance and HR.  



Our front-line operational team is made up of drivers, conductors, and our train presentation team. They work around the clock to provide a reliable and safe service for our customers.  

They’re responsible for providing more than 2,500 train services each day. And they’re busy cleaning all our carriages and key stations every day, with a team of over 600 dedicated cleaners working around the clock.   


Our engineering team is responsible for servicing, maintenance and repairs of our fleet of 364 trains. This includes 11 different types of train, from diesel to electric and bi-modal.  

We currently operate seven Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) classes of train, the 150, 155, 156, 158, 170 and 195.

The Electrical Multiple Unit (EMU) fleet we operate is made up of the 319, 323, 332 and 333 classes of train.  

The 769 FLEX train is bi-modal and was introduced by Northern in early 2021. Bi-modal means that it can travel on both electrified and non-electrified routes and they currently operate on the Southport to Alderley Edge route.  

Our engineering team is more than 750 people-strong and is responsible for four main TrainCare centres at Allerton, Newton Heath, Neville Hill and Heaton.  


Station and retail 

Our station retail team welcomes customers to our stations, helping them with tickets, offering information and assistance.  

They also provide customers with information on connections and the best times to travel. And, in some of our stations, they are responsible for providing a timely and dIspatch of trains as well as supporting customers at ticket barriers.  


Support services 

To support the smooth running of our train services Northern’s support teams include Human Resources, IT, Finance, Communications and others.  

We also have a dedicated team responsible for protecting revenue from ticket sales. Their work is essential to ensure that fare paying passengers and taxpayers in general do not have to subsidise the cost of travel for those who do not pay their fare. Find out more by visiting the Debt Recovery and Prosecutions Unit team’s webpages.  


Our performance 

We are passionate about making sure people’s Northern journeys are as good as they can be. We continually measure our service reliability and punctuality and work with Transport Focus to understand how satisfied customers are, and the key areas we need to focus on to improve customer satisfaction.  

  • Reliability and punctuality 

We have targets for reliability and punctuality, and we report on our performance against these each month. Monthly performance reports are published on the performance section of our website.  

Find out more about our other passenger commitments in our passenger charter which is reviewed every year.  

  • Customer satisfaction 

We measure customer satisfaction through the Net Promoter Score (NPS). This score measures customer advocacy, which is how likely customers are to recommend us. 

NPS is part of a new in-house customer feedback programme which we introduced in 2021 and gathers several thousand customer surveys every four-week period. The programme allows us to monitor customer feedback in real time, down to station and route level.  

Along with NPS we look at customers’ satisfaction with several areas such as train cleanliness. This programme, along with complaints data, our service quality audits, social media, and industry sources such as Rail Delivery Group’s Wavelength tool, gives us the insight we need to drive up customer sentiment.  

We are listening to customers in new ways, with post-travel surveys being sent out to all of our digital customers via email generating real-time customer insight. And we have recruited seven and a half thousand customers into ‘Northerneers’, a panel that is working with us to help us understand our customers’ needs and priorities. 


Safety and security 

Safety is a core part of everything we do. We continue to grow our safety culture at Northern and our key areas of focus are: 

  • Managing operational risk – making sure that our trains are operated in the safest way.  

  • Operating safe depots – including occupational health and safety, security, and environmental risks. 

  • Delivering a safe and secure railway – reducing anti-social behaviour and trespass for example.  

We work closely with many other organisations when it comes to railway safety. This includes, for example, the RSSB on the management of fatigue. Our work with the British Transport Police includes campaigns aimed at making customers aware of risks and what they can do to keep themselves safe. Visit our customer safety page for more information about these campaigns.  


Travel and Coronavirus  

For the latest advice on travel and Coronavirus visit our travel information page.  

Northern App

Streamline your journey and get tickets straight to your phone. Making your journey contact-free.

Northern App

Streamline your journey and get tickets straight to your phone. Making your journey contact-free.