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Transport for the North’s responds to the Government’s Strategic Vision for Rail

Wednesday 29th November 2017

Transport for the North has responded to the Government’s Strategic Vision for Rail, which recognises the importance of two of its flagship programmes, Northern Powerhouse Rail and Integrated and Smart Travel.

The organisation is currently developing an ambitious Strategic Transport Plan aimed at rebalancing the UK economy, by driving economic growth and job creation in the North.

Much of the report, launched by the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, aligns with Transport for the North’s ambitions, including clear acknowledgement of the value of Northern Powerhouse Rail. This transformational programme would better connect the key economic areas and cities of the North, including east-west rail links. It is proposed that the programme will be delivered through a combination of new, existing and planned infrastructure, including integration with HS2, unlocking its benefits for the North.

Tim Wood, Transport for the North’s Northern Powerhouse Rail Programme Director said:
“We’re delighted that the report recognises the importance of this transformational rail programme. Our studies indicate that Northern Powerhouse Rail would increase the number of people in the North able to access four or more of the North’s key cities within an hour from 10,000 to 1.3 million. This has the potential to change the North’s contribution to the UK economy.”

The Government’s strategy also reinforced the importance of developing smart ticketing on rail, hard on the heels of an £18.5 million commitment last month for smart ticketing on rail in the North.
Alastair Richards, Transport for the North’s Integrated and Smart Travel Programme Director said: “Today’s publication supports the vision of our smart ticketing programme to make travel by rail, light rail and bus easier to understand, plan and pay for, right across the north of England.”

Fundamental to transforming rail performance in the North is an assessment system that considers the role of infrastructure investment in enabling economic growth. The development of a ‘Rebalancing Toolkit’, a new assessment standard for Government decisions on transport investment, is a step in the right direction. It is hoped that this will help to ensure, as stated in the report that ‘rebalancing is considered more consistently and transparently’ as decisions are taken.

Transport for the North will publish its draft Strategic Transport Plan for consultation early in the New Year, setting out the case for infrastructure investment in the North over the next 30 years.