Latest Rail News

17.01.13

DfT not ready to commit to franchise devolution

Rail minister Simon Burns has told RTM that while the devolution of franchising decisions and powers to regional authorities is “in principle a sensible idea” and a key recommendation of the Brown review, the DfT still has a lot more work to do before it will commit to it.

Although there was a somewhat underwhelmed reaction to the Brown report in some quarters as not being radical enough, one area where it received praise was in its recommendations on devolution.

Pteg, Railfuture and London TravelWatch were just some of the organisations whose reaction to the report focused on devolution.

But Burns told RTM during his visit to the site of Network Rail's new Rail Operating Centre and Workforce Development Centre in York on Wednesday: “What I can say is that in principle, Brown was very much in favour of devolution and in principle, we think it is a sensible idea.

“There is work going on in a number of parts of the country – including at TfL, and in the north of England – which are keen to be able to participate in and compete for franchises. We will consider in due course the recommendations of Brown; we will also consider any [devolution] proposals that are being put together, but it is far too premature at the moment to give a view as to what will happen. These things have got to be looked at and we are not going to rush into anything, because we’ve got to get it right.”

This was a notably less gung-ho position to that taken by his ministerial colleague Norman Baker at the ‘Devolving Rail to the Regions’ event held at Manchester Town Hall last summer (see below), who said: “The move towards devolution and localism is not a fad, not a sound bite or a headline. It is absolutely serious, and as far as I’m concerned, a one-way street.” 

There is a strong expectation that the Northern and Transpennine franchises will be merged, with significant control given to a consortium of northern PTEs with input from local authorities, and much behind-the-scenes work has been done developing a ‘Rail in the North Executive’.

While devolution has been on hold, the authorities have been pressing ahead on a broader Rail in the North strategy, covering far more issues than just franchising.

The West Midlands transport authority, Centro, has also expressed an interest in commissioning and managing its local rail services.

Pteg support unit director Jonathan Bray told RTM last month: “When we met the Secretary of State, he said nothing had changed in terms of the Government’s attitude to potential devolution…we’re still doing a lot of work on the technical and legal issues around devolution of the Northern and Transpennine routes as a combined franchise.”

For more coverage of Burns' visit to York and the site of the Rail Operating Centre and Workforce Development Centre, and his opening of the new turntable, click here.

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email us at opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

753 IMAG0068

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

MPT wins £350m contract to build Metrolink’s Trafford Park extension

02/12/2016MPT wins £350m contract to build Metrolink’s Trafford Park extension

The Metrolink Trafford Park line will be built by the consortium which has already delivered the other extensions to Manchester’s light rai... more >
Rail freight activity continues to decline in Q2

02/12/2016Rail freight activity continues to decline in Q2

Activity in the rail freight industry has continued to struggle in Q2, as the decline in coal being moved also spread to renewable sectors such a... more >
GTR launches legal action to stop Aslef Southern strikes

02/12/2016GTR launches legal action to stop Aslef Southern strikes

GTR has launched legal action in an attempt to stop industrial action by the drivers of Southern trains. Aslef, the driver’s union, announc... more >

editor's comment

04/11/2016An incredible journey

Firstly, I would like to warmly welcome you to this special edition of RTM. As you have seen on the front cover, we have reached a milestone for the magazine with this being our 100th issue.  I would also like to thank all those readers and contributors who have been with us for the journey so far, and all those who have joined us along the way. We have included a two-page round-up starting on page 24 that reflects on RTM’s d... read more >

rail industry focus

  • 18/11/2016Ilkeston, 50 years on

    The town of Ilkeston is finally getting another rail station after almost 50 years without tracks. Geoff Pickford, service director for highways at...
  • 15/11/2016Oxford station on track for Marylebone

    Network Rail’s senior programme manager, Jonathan Davies, and its project manager, Rob Mashford, speak to RTM about the ongoing works in and around...
  • 15/11/2016Making rail history

    An innovative approach to partnership working has helped S&C North Alliance make rail history on the East Coast Main Line (ECML) by delivering the...
View all News

interviews

Investing in the future of Scottish Rail

15/11/2016Investing in the future of Scottish Rail

Phil Verster, managing director of ScotRail Alliance, speaks to RTM’s Luana Salles about the recently-published ‘Investing in the Fut... more >
Maintaining the safety momentum

12/09/2016Maintaining the safety momentum

Britain’s railways are currently the safest they have ever been, but there is still room for improvement, Ian Prosser, HM chief inspector o... more >
Transforming rail in the north

06/06/2016Transforming rail in the north

As part of RTM’s series of interviews with the those at the top of the TOCs, David Stevenson caught up with Alex Hynes, Arriva Rail North&r... more >

last word

HS2 – The biggest single source of new jobs in UK infrastructure

HS2 – The biggest single source of new jobs in UK infrastructure

Ailie MacAdam, Bechtel’s rail sector lead and a director of High Speed Rail Industry Leaders (HSRIL), comments on the job opportunities tha... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

'Mail Rail' trains tested to be revived as museum experience

02/12/2016'Mail Rail' trains tested to be revived as museum experience

Trains have run on the London Post Office Railway for the first time since the ‘Mail Rail’ service was abandoned over 10 years ago.&n... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

Geophysical condition assessment of railway earthworks

22/11/2016Geophysical condition assessment of railway earthworks

Dr Shane Donohue from Queen’s University Belfast discusses the findings of a recent project that used time-lapse monitoring of climate effe... more >
Keen industry response to Railtex 2017

22/11/2016Keen industry response to Railtex 2017

Kirsten Whitehouse, exhibition manager at Mack Brooks Exhibitions, provides a round-up of what is on offer at the thirteenth edition of Railtex. ... more >
How a zero-emission train could revolutionise UK railways

22/11/2016How a zero-emission train could revolutionise UK railways

Henrik Anderberg, managing director for regional & intercity at Alstom UK & Ireland, gives an update on the company’s first zero-em... more >
In pursuit of the perfect train design

22/11/2016In pursuit of the perfect train design

Adrian Shooter, chair of Vivarail and former chair of Chiltern Railways, discusses the impracticality of creating a train that suits everyone&rsq... more >