The Government has suggested rail operator Northern could be on the verge of losing its franchise after years of delays, cancellations and outdated rolling stock. What will this mean for passengers?

So is Northern Rail losing its franchise, or not?

It's difficult to say. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps certainly appeared to say so in a series of interviews this morning. He told BBC Breakfast that it was "absolutely the case" that Northern was not fit to run the franchise, and that it was his "intention" to remove the franchise.

Asked by the Press Association whether the franchise would be removed, he was clearer: "The simple answer to the querstion is yes, it is going to be brought to an end."

But as the day has gone on, the Department for Transport has distanced itself from the minister's remarks, saying that the decision to remove the franchise has not yet been taken.

What seems clear is that Mr Shapps wants to strip Northern of its franchise. But that's not the same as saying it will definitely happen - we should know more in the coming weeks

Assuming this does happen, what will it mean for passengers? Will my service still run?

Whatever happens, somebody will still operate the Northern franchise. Trains will still run and passengers shouldn't notice any adverse effects - in fact Mr Shapps is adamant that the service would be improved, saying that passengers on the line have endured a "nightmare" since 2016.

So who would run the trains?

There are two options: either Northern could be awarded a new, short-term 'management contract' to continue running the service but under strict government supervision, or the 'Operator of Last Resort', which currently runs the LNER franchise on the East Coast Main Line, could be brought in to take over.

I've just bought a new season ticket - could this make it worthless?

No. It's handy to look at what happened when the Operator of Last Resort was brought in to run the East Coast line in 2018. All tickets issued by the previous operator, Virgin Trains East Coast, continued to be valid on the new service - including season tickets.