Network Rail regulation and performance


TfN statutory status pushed back to April

Transport for the North (TfN) is likely to be officially recognised as a statutory body as transformative legislation lands in the House of Commons today – but the official deadline has been pushed back from this year to April 2018.

Last October, the organisation asked for formal permission from the DfT to become the first ever sub-national transport authority in England, a move which had been building firm momentum in the past years, but the process has been delayed ever since.

Now, transport minister Jesse Norman has announced plans to begin the devolution of power to TfN, granting new autonomy and the ability to fund other organisations.

Rail North, an association of local authorities – including all TfN members and Staffordshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Nottingham and Stoke-on-Trent – will also formally become part of TfN and work with government to co-manage the Northern and TransPennine rail franchises.

In addition, the government revealed that it would be granting the regional body £18.5m to be used for the introduction of smart ticketing by the end of 2018, in line with national targets.

Plans come as part of the Northern Powerhouse commitment, which includes the planned Northern Powerhouse Rail, set to be run by TfN with an initial £60m grant from the government.

“We are committed to the Northern Powerhouse, and to giving the great towns and cities of the north more say over transport investment through their umbrella body TfN,” explained Norman.

“This government is investing the most cash for a generation in transport projects for the north. These new powers will give TfN far greater influence over national infrastructure decisions, as well the certainty they need to plan and drive forward projects such as Northern Powerhouse Rail and smart ticketing.”

Jake Berry, minister for the Northern Powerhouse, said the introduction of TfN legislation would only be a positive move for northern communities.

He commented: “We are investing a record £13bn in transport in the north of England – more than any government in history.

“As part of this, TfN will be a game-changer, with powers to speak with one voice on northern transport projects and drive forward ambitious plans to improve transport connections and unlock economic growth across the Northern Powerhouse.”

TfN will also receive the power to produce a statutory transport strategy for the north, currently being produced, which the government must formally consider when making funding decisions.

The organisation’s independent chair, John Cridland, said: “Becoming a sub-national transport body means that the secretary of state of the day will take into account the north’s priorities when making transport infrastructure investment.

“These priorities will be developed collaboratively and we are currently working with our partners to finalise the draft strategic transport plan, which will be published for public consultation early next year.

“This is a 30-year transport strategy for the north that will help drive economic growth in the region and help to rebalance the UK economy – statutory status will ensure this plan is considered as a formal statutory document that can provide a solid, evidenced-based framework for transport investment in the north over the coming decades.”

The body will also be expected to work with local authorities to fund, promote and deliver road schemes, and be consulted on rail franchises in the region.

If the legislation is accepted in the way expected by the government, then TfN will receive its official status on 1 April next year, at the start of the next financial year.

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Dazza P Jones   16/11/2017 at 14:01

Does this mean if it happens, things like the piccadilly extended platforms and the manchester - leeds/york electrification plans will go ahead??

Ian Watkins   16/11/2017 at 14:22

Before they worry about electrification they need to sort the track out. Travelled from Leeds to Manchester Piccadilly today and the ride is atrocious.....

James Palma   16/11/2017 at 15:53

Ah! The good old North of England. I took a train journey recently to Scotland. I really thought I was good at geography. I thought that the north of England included places such as Preston, Carlisle, Durham, Newcastle, Scarborough, darlington, to name a few. But according to all these articles about Transport for the North and the northern power house, these towns and cities must be in Scotland. My bad.

Honorary Northerner   16/11/2017 at 21:55

This is great news! Hopefully the start of an exciting journey towards much improved investment in northern transport infrastructure.

LM93   17/11/2017 at 08:57

James Palma it says TfN members, which include Cumbria, North East Combined Authority and Tees Valley.

Blair Robinson, York   17/11/2017 at 13:31

No, the Government is going to concentrate on railways in the north - by spending millions on the Oxford to Cambridge corridor, according to BBC news this morning. Well, it’s north of London, isn’t it, so that’s OK then! That’s far more important as it takes a long time to travel between the two universities, as well as Milton Keynes.

Michael King   17/11/2017 at 16:08

Blair, you’re using a false either/or. Yours , a Freeman of York.

GW   17/11/2017 at 16:16

So why a picture of Cardiff?

Mike Wilcock   17/11/2017 at 21:13

Since when does Cardiff, featured in the photo, become part of the north of ENGLAND !

Lee   20/11/2017 at 08:41

I may be wrong, but I always thought Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent Derbyshire and Lincolnshire were the Midlands, not the North! Surely Staffordshire should be in TfWM and Lincolnshire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire in East Midlands Councils (Transport for East Midlands)?

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