Latest Rail News

27.04.16

Calls to tackle ‘national embarrassment’ transport links to build Northern Powerhouse

Investment in transport infrastructure within the north of England is the top priority for building the Northern powerhouse, according to a survey of northern business leaders.

The survey of 245 delegates at February’s Northern Powerhouse International conference found that 88% thought investment in transport infrastructure within the north was very important, and 11% thought it was fairly important.

The survey, included in the follow-up report ‘Building the Northern Powerhouse’, also showed that the highest priorities beyond transport were training the local workforce (rated as very important by 80%) and attracting foreign investment (62%). However, only 59% of those surveyed thought improving transport links between the north and London/the south was very important.

One respondent to the survey said: “The woeful condition of east-west rail links is a national embarrassment. International investors won’t take the north seriously until we have large scale nationally driven east-west rail investment on the scale of Crossrail.”

When asked what was very important to the area where they live, transport infrastructure within the north was the most popular, chosen by 58% of delegates, and transport infrastructure between north and south was the least popular, supported by 36%.

More plans for proposed east-west rail links in the north were unveiled in Transport for the North’s spring report.

Richard Green, director of design, planning and economics at global infrastructure firm Aecom, who sponsored the report, repeated his calls for foreign investment to ensure the Northern Powerhouse succeeds, saying: “Foreign direct investment will be key to realising the aims of the Northern Powerhouse, as public funding alone is unlikely to be sufficient. Investors don’t back regions – they invest in opportunities likely to earn a good return. The North must therefore compete on merit with projects in many other countries.

“To attract investment, the Northern Powerhouse must offer a clear, balanced vision that recognises the importance of its core cities and wider Trans-Pennine hinterland. This will be achieved with well-articulated development plans leading to long-term gains. A strong focus on protecting the unique quality of place and building the region’s skills will be vital to securing the desired outcomes for investors and for future generations in the North.”

Speakers at the conference expressed concern about the ability of Network Rail to implement the new railway links, given their shortage of skilled engineers, and suggested Transport for the North might be better.

They also said Network Rail should introduce the digital railway on the TransPennine corridor.

Alex Hynes, managing director of Arriva Rail North, who took over the Northern rail franchise at the start of this month, said the new service would lead to an increase in weekly services and a reduction in passenger journey times by 2019, but warned that it was impossible to have both faster journey times and increased access (meaning more stops) without upgrading the railway.

Graham Botham, strategy and planning director for the north at Network Rail, warned that the 4-5% increase in passengers was having a negative impact on freight rail times.

Keynote speaker David Brown, CEO of Transport for the North, said delivering transport changes in the north required both ambition and speed for short-term projects, and that Network Rail and Highways England should develop an integrated plan to achieve this.

 

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Record number of passenger journeys as UK rail revenue rises to four-year high

18/06/2019Record number of passenger journeys as UK rail revenue rises to four-year high

Record figures of rail passenger journeys have been recorded in England, Scotland and Wales, according to the most recent quarterly report by the... more >
Rail union Aslef launches 'On Track with Diversity' report at Houses of Parliament

18/06/2019Rail union Aslef launches 'On Track with Diversity' report at Houses of Parliament

Train drivers’ union Aslef launched its On Track with Diversity report at the Houses of Parliament on Monday, as it looks to increase ... more >
Dawlish railway may be ‘moved out to sea’ to protect it from storms under new proposals

13/06/2019Dawlish railway may be ‘moved out to sea’ to protect it from storms under new proposals

The storm-battered Dawlish rail line could be “moved out to sea” and away from the “hazard” of the cliffs under new plans... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projec... more >
Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

12/03/2019Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

RTM sits down with Samantha Smith, sole female member of the TransPennine Route Upgrade Alliance Leadership Team, to find out more about encourag... more >
TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

22/01/2019TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

Peter Molyneux, Transport for the North’s (TfN’s) strategic roads director, has been leading on the development of the seven economic... more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. ... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Apprentice to Co-leading the Rail Sector Deal

05/06/2019Apprentice to Co-leading the Rail Sector Deal

In a series of Q&A’s with key speakers on the run up to TransCityRail Midlands, we caught up with TransCityRail panellist and Amey&rsqu... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

Hitachi trains for Happy trains

10/06/2019Hitachi trains for Happy trains

ScotRail project manager Kirsty Devlin discusses the withdrawal of Class 365s, to be replaced with the brand-new Class 385 fleet. While Scot... more >
Malcolm Holmes on new stations for the Black Country

10/06/2019Malcolm Holmes on new stations for the Black Country

Malcolm Holmes, executive director of the West Midlands Rail Executive, described the new stations set to be built for the Black Country region o... more >
The skills bottleneck: Dealing with growing apprenticeship demand

10/06/2019The skills bottleneck: Dealing with growing apprenticeship demand

Richard Turner, head of apprenticeships at Network Rail, details the reasons for growing apprenticeship demand in the rail sector over the coming... more >
A train journey on the Midland Main Line 15 years from now…

10/06/2019A train journey on the Midland Main Line 15 years from now…

Chris Hobson, director of policy and external affairs at the East Midlands Chamber, talks in detail about what travelling through the region will... more >