Midlands Engine


Transport for the North and Midlands Connect join forces in new MoU

Transport bodies Midlands Connect and Transport for the North (TfN) have today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to commit to working together more closely to balancing the UK economy.

Midlands Connect’s Maria Machancoses and TfN’s Barry White signed the document at the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool earlier this week, with a pledge to establish a Midlands Connect - TfN Rail Forum, which will meet on a quarterly basis.

Senior officers will work together on the future development of the East Coast and West Coast main lines, HS2 Phase 2a and 2b, work being undertaken by Growth Track 360 in North Wales and Cheshire, and the Constellation Partnership in Staffordshire and Cheshire.

The MoU also pledged for greater collaboration on other areas including transport planning, modelling and appraisal; rail services that operate across area boundaries, especially franchises that cover the Rail North Partnership geography; sharing experience, knowledge, and ideas on the development on integrated and smart ticketing; and sharing ideas on policy development and long-term funding of sub-national transport bodies and their investment priorities.

Machancoses said the Midlands and the north share “many common aspirations,” and the two both recognise how critical transport investment is to rebalancing the UK economy that will support productivity and prosperity in the long-term.

“I’m particularly excited by the establishment of a Midlands Connect - TfN Rail Forum, which will help us ensure our Midlands Rail Hub proposals align with the development of both HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail,” she added.

“As we work with the government and partners towards becoming a statutory sub-national transport body, we can learn a lot from TfN’s experience in gaining statutory status earlier this year. I look forward to working together even more closely as we strive to rebalance the British economy.”

Chief executive of TfN Barry White said: “I’m delighted to have signed the MoU with Midlands Connect. It shows that while our remit is the north, if we are to truly rebalance the UK economy we need to look past geographical boundaries.

“We need to make end-to-end journeys the best they can be, regardless of where that journey may start and finish. What’s clear is that we aren’t looking at transport for transport’s sake – it’s about how we can use transport to grow our respective regions, drive innovation and create a better quality of life for this and future generations.”

Tim Wood, Northern Powerhouse Rail Director for TfN, will be delivering the keynote speech at #TransCityRail next week. Click here to find out more.

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