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Rail franchising and investment

Rail North

Rail North will be joining Transport for the North in 2018, as the organisation gains statutory status.

Rail North brings together local transport authorities across the whole of the North. It has secured and is leading two transformational and investment-led franchises, working in partnership with the Department for Transport to manage these, marking the start of increased local investment and greater local control. We are also responsible for shaping the strategic and economic development of the network for rail users and we work with the industry to ensure collaboration on future rail infrastructure planning and investment for the North.


Download Long Term Rail Strategy

Transformational franchises

Rail North has been instrumental in bringing transformational rail franchises to the North of England. Working as a co-client with the Department of Transport, we have used local knowledge and ambition to secure significant franchise investment in the North – including investment in new and refurbished trains, enhanced station facilities and faster and more frequent services. By 2020 this will enable 40,000 more train passengers to travel each day and 2000 more train services to be operated every week including improved Sunday services by 2019.

Both Northern and TransPennine Express, which began their franchise agreements in April 2016, have committed hundreds of millions to the transformation of rail passenger services. With support from Rail North and the Department for Transport, the two train operating companies are leading the way for innovative and devolved rail franchising with over £1 billion of new investment. All Pacer trains will be removed from service by 2020 and innovative technology will be introduced to enable trains to operate on electrified and nonelectrified lines.

Driving investment

The Long Term Rail Strategy for the North of England, the first of its kind for the region, sets out a 20-year plan to develop the whole of the rail network across the North of England and is key to informing the Strategic Transport Plan.

We aim to provide an improved train service through enhanced infrastructure and radically improved rolling stock and to support a wide programme of transformational change. This includes delivery of the Great North Rail Project, the TransPennine Route Upgrade, and smart ticketing throughout the North and, in the longer term, working to support the Northern Powerhouse Rail Programme.


In 2017-2018 we will:

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