SERVICES and jobs in the North’s railways are under threat, trade unionists will warn at a rally in Manchester today.

The Northern Rail franchise will be taken over tomorrow by Arriva Rail North.

But trade unions claim the new franchise will feature worse services, fewer jobs and poorer passenger safety.

They say half of trains under the new franchise will only have a driver, with no guard to maintain safety and security or help disabled passengers.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: "So much for the Northern powerhouse. Drastic cuts to rail services can only mean increased fares, worse services, or job losses.

"The government needs to invest in a publicly-owned railway we can be proud of."

Parliamentary figures show the state subsidy for the Northern franchise will fall from £281m in 2016/17 to £92m in 2024/25.

The Government has said the new franchise will deliver more than 2,000 extra services each week, increase capacity by nearly 40 per cent and see the unpopular Pacer rail buses replaced before 2020.

Arriva Rail North did not respond to requests for a comment, but in the past it has said that the new franchise would benefit from a £1bn investment by Arriva in better trains, more services, faster journeys, with more customer facing staff, simpler ticketing and improved station facilities.