Local councils better than DfT at determining local train services? ….

Posted on September 20th, 2013, by The Chairman

There has been a lot of discussion about “Rail in the North”, the concept behind local councils getting together to specify train services in Northern England apart from longer distance and some other services.

The Manchester Evening News covered this further a few weeks ago.

Some think things being determined “locally” has to be better than determination coming from civil servants in London who don’t live here and hardly ever, if ever, come here. Others are worried that the bigger cities will use their power to concentrate spending in the conurbations to the disadvantage of those who don’t live in the cities.

We’re all watching to see how this develops.

Thanks to member, Mike Battman for spotting this item

Please leave a comment

  1. Andrew Macfarlane Says:

    There are two potential pitfalls with this proposal:

    1. DfT/Treasury does not provide an adequate level of resources to fund this arrangement.
    2. PTEs and councils cannot agree on priorities in terms of major projects. Each will be promoting its own pet scheme(s) so there will be plenty of scope for disagreements. The problem is the lack of an over-arching regional government for the North (unlike Scotland or Wales).

  2. Jen Says:

    I just found a Consultation on Rail Strategy for the North here: http://www.railstrategynorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/LTRS-Consultation-complete.pdf and noticed the below reference to the Sunday services on the Mid-Cheshire line:

    For example in West Yorkshire on Sundays the route between Knottingley and
    Leeds, which serves the large Junction 32 Outlet retail park and Xscape Leisure
    Park, has only a two hourly service, compared to hourly between Monday and
    Saturday. Furthermore the earliest arrival into Leeds is not until after 11:00 making
    employee access by rail to retail job opportunities challenging. The same is true of
    the Chester to Manchester via Altrincham route and there are other examples from
    across the North.

    There is also a consultation questionnaire here: http://www.railstrategynorth.com/survey/

  3. Jen Says:

    Looks like devolution is set to go ahead. From TheBusinessDesk.com:


    RAIL North has agreed to enter into a partnership with the Department for Transport (DfT) for the renewal of the Northern and TransPennine rail franchises.

    The process for replacing these two franchises will begin next year and successors will be in place in February 2016.

    Over the past year North of England authorities have worked together to develop proposals for local decision-making to play a central role in defining future rail services in the North.

    The Rail North proposals include a long term rail strategy for the North, a strong business case, and a new decision-making framework for northern authorities to work together.

    The DfT – Rail North Partnership aims to ensure that new infrastructure, such as the Northern Hub, is used in the most effective way to strengthen the economy, and that priorities are clearly defined for future investment in the network and rolling stock.

    The partnership will also build on the work Rail North set out in the long term rail strategy, which was publicly consulted on over the summer and has gained support from businesses, passenger groups and industry stakeholders.

    “I’m delighted that the Secretary of State has seen the value of the work the North of England authorities have undertaken over the past 18 months”, said Sir Richard Leese, vice chairman of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, on behalf of the Rail North leaders group.

    “We believe that a devolved railway will focus more on the places of the North, their prosperity and passengers. The railway has a key role to play in a more robust North of England economy, and sustainable economic growth must be supported by improved connectivity across the North.”

    Julie Dore, leader of Sheffield City Council, said: “The joint working between the north of England authorities builds on the priorities and approach taken in making the case for the Northern Hub and the north of England rail electrification infrastructure projects. It is right that the North should now play a key role in making the decisions about the future train services that will benefit from both these, and future, rail investment in the North.”

    “The DfT – Rail North Partnership will focus on growing the railway to maximise the benefits of investment, and having a basis for determining investment priorities in future, while at the same time providing passengers with better services and delivering a more efficient railway”, said chairman of West Yorkshire Metro, Coun James Lewis. “Additional rolling stock will be vital if we are to support an economy where more and more people travel by train to work, for business, and for shopping and leisure activities.”

    A joint Rail North/ DfT working group will develop the detail of the partnership proposals for presentation to the Secretary of State, Patrick McLoughlin, and North of England local authority leaders early in the new year.



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