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

TOC payments to government leap from £40m to more than £800m

28/08/2015TOC payments to government leap from £40m to more than £800m

All but two train operators either received less subsidy or paid higher premiums to the government during 2014-15 than the year before, according... more >
Network Rail questions capability of its route bosses

28/08/2015Network Rail questions capability of its route bosses

One of the “biggest challenges” in trying to boost the performance of Network Rail’s operations is having route managing direct... more >
ScotRail fund to ‘breathe new life’ into derelict railway stations

28/08/2015ScotRail fund to ‘breathe new life’ into derelict railway stations

ScotRail and Transport Scotland have launched a £1.5m ‘Stations Community Regeneration Fund’ to regenerate old and disused rail... more >

editor's comment

01/07/2015New Priorities

Is Sir Peter Hendy the right man to get Network Rail’s control period back where it needs to be? It was an open secret that the Department for Transport wanted new blood at the top of Network Rail, and it is hardly a surprise to see a pause in Midland Main Line electrification either – there is only so much money, only so many engineers and only so much plant to get this ‘rolling programme’ of electrification don... read more >

rail industry focus

View all News

featured articles

View all News

interviews

World-leading asset management on London Underground

01/07/2015World-leading asset management on London Underground

London Underground is only the second metro in the world to receive the new ISO 55001 accreditation endorsing its asset management systems. RTM h... more >
Caledonian sleeper: Poor performance figures and the role of new loco's

01/07/2015Caledonian sleeper: Poor performance figures and the role of new loco's

Since becoming a separate franchise, the punctuality and performance for Caledonian Sleeper have dipped substantially. But David Simpson, perform... more >
The 'British Bullet Train'

01/07/2015The 'British Bullet Train'

Hitachi used Railtex 2015 to launch the interior concept for its latest generation of ‘very high speed’ vehicles, the AT400 range. RT... more >

last word

Opening doors into the rail industry

Opening doors into the rail industry

RTM catches up with one of its former business development executives, Jonathan Berry, who is nearly a year into his management graduate scheme w... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

‘Victoria’ chopped up and unscrewed after Crossrail completion

14/08/2015‘Victoria’ chopped up and unscrewed after Crossrail completion

The final Crossrail tunnelling machine, Victoria, is being broken up and recycled after “finishing her journey” under the capital. ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

Web call out 1

rail industry events

Fifth international rail human factors conference

14 Sep 2015

The Fifth International Rail Human Factors Conference will be held in London on the 14th to 17t...

read more >

ASPECT 2015

15 Sep 2015

ASPECT 2015 is an international conference covering all aspects of railway signalling, control ...

read more >

The RBF National Annual Dinner 2015

02 Oct 2015

The RBF are delighted to be hosting once again a night of celebration, entertainment, dancing a...

read more >

Elmia Nordic Rail 2015

06 Oct 2015

Nordic Rail is the only dedicated railway exhibition in Scandinavia. It's a fair for companies,...

read more >

Dinner at the Roundhouse

15 Oct 2015

Having just celebrated its fourth year, Dinner at the Roundhouse is well-established as th...

read more >
view all events

back

August 2015

forward
mon tue wed thu fri sat sun
27 28 29 30 31 1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31 1 2 3 4 5 6

comment

Managing fatigue

01/07/2015Managing fatigue

In his second article on fatigue for RTM, Chris Langer, human factors advisor at CIRAS, the Confidential Incident Reporting & Analysis System... more >
Why rail companies may be ignoring the benefits of SMEs

01/07/2015Why rail companies may be ignoring the benefits of SMEs

Suzanne O’Keane, rail and transport community manager at Achilles, examines why rail companies may be reluctant to increase the number of s... more >
Meeting the land referencing challenge of HS2

01/07/2015Meeting the land referencing challenge of HS2

Before the first construction work starts, let alone the first train runs, a phenomenal amount of work is required to ensure the development of a... more >
Are we looking at a new age of elegant, visually appealing rail buildings and trackside structures?

01/07/2015Are we looking at a new age of elegant, visually appealing rail buildings and trackside structures?

The new roof structure at Manchester Victoria station is a fantastic example of what is possible with modern steel manufacturing techniques; it j... more >