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18.11.14

North should get new trains, better stations and zoned fare system – report

The north should be given new trains, better stations and a zoned fare system as part of a series of 'stepping stones' to bring about the vision of a Northern Powerhouse, a new report claims.

Prepared by Greengauge 21, experts on the region's current and potential rail infrastructure, the report urges the government to enshrine in new franchise agreements for Northern and TransPennine Express significant improvements, such as:

  • The launch of new regional express rail network for the North and Midlands
  • Simplified fares, smart ticketing and a zonal fares structure across the region
  • Replacement of all Pacer trains and further electrification

The report, backed by the Campaign for Better Transport, is to be launched at a debate with franchise bidders and industry experts and campaigners tomorrow (Wednesday) as part of the Right Track North campaign. Rail minister Claire Perry, along with Northern Rail boss Alex Hynes, who outlined his own views recently at RTM’s High Speed 2 The Northern Hub dinner, will be among those speaking.

Chief executive Stephen Joseph of Campaign for Better Transport said: "Northern cities like Liverpool and Leeds have seen major regeneration initiatives recently, and we're extremely pleased to hear politicians from many parties and local government voice their support for a rail network that makes the most of these economic opportunities. But in order for the rhetoric to become reality, the Government and the bidders who win these two key franchises simply must take on board the recommendations of this report, which offers clear, practical steps that need to be taken to give people, businesses and the cities of the region the rail network they deserve. Another ‘minimum cost’ franchise, like the previous one, would be a disaster for northern cities."

(Image: c. David Martin)

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