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On Monday 25 June, the second Northern Transport Summit was held in Manchester. The first event in 2017 highlighted how the North is coming together to speak with one voice, and how collaboration between the public and private sector is key to the North realising its potential. Our Senior Corporate Engagement Officer, Stephen Smith, went along to this year’s event to see how things had moved on.
Transport for the North’s Chief Executive Barry White opened the summit. Barry emphasised the need to rebalance the UK economy, and how this is vital not just for the good of the North but for the country as a whole.
Throughout the rest of the summit, there was very much a sense of how things had progressed dramatically in the past twelve months, how we have come together, and where we want to go next. This was epitomised by our Northern Powerhouse Rail Director, Tim Wood, explaining how far the Northern Powerhouse Rail project has come in a short space of time, to ensure that the high-level Strategic Outline Business Case will be submitted to the Government by the end of the year. Tim also spoke of how Northern Powerhouse Rail will leave a legacy for the next generation.
Alastair Richards, our Integrated and Smart Travel Director, later spoke about how we will begin to see smart cards rolled out for season ticket holders towards the end of the year. He also explained how in just a few more years we will deliver contactless ‘tap in, tap out’ travel with a fair-price promise on all public transport across the North.
The other sessions ranged from updates on local schemes from across the region, how we can create vibrant communities and hubs around rail stations, and the importance of thinking about the long-term as well as now.
Fundamentally, the summit demonstrated how the North now has the opportunity to drive itself forward, not just in terms of transport but also more broadly to create a Northern Powerhouse.