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11.10.17

UTG: Rail investment ‘high value for money’

Investment in the regional rail network can represent “high value for money” as well as providing “transformative benefits” to surrounding areas, a report from the Urban Transport Group (UTG) has concluded.

The new study aimed to solidify arguments around rail investments by analysing four case studies which represented different routes and types of service.

Potential best-case benefits included 2,000 new jobs created with £70m additional GVA per annum, new land for housing of up to 3,000 residents and £35m a year GVA added to the economy.

However, it should be noted that conclusions have been drawn based on developing projects to their optimum level and removing elements which do not add to the narrative.

The case studies looked over four separate situations focused around new passenger services on an existing freight route, a whole ‘route upgrade’ approach, linking two radial passenger routes into a city and the introduction of train-tram technologies and on-street running in city centres.

UTG also goes on to assert that the “real value” of investments in this sector come through developments which are harder to quantify such as regeneration, economic growth and environmental improvements.

Ben Still, managing director of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and the Urban Transport Group’s lead board member for rail, said: “As this report shows investment in urban and regional rail schemes can bring transformative benefits for the areas served.

“It can re-connect left behind places, support the growth of city centres through providing the mass transit they need and unlock sites for much needed new housing developments.

“The report makes the case using real routes and networks as the basis for looking at how different types of schemes can address different needs.

“However, it is important to stress that these case studies are indicative rather than detailed business cases for particular rail projects.”

 Still added: “In doing so it builds on our recent ‘Rail Devolution Works’ and earlier ‘Destination Growth – the case for Britain’s regional railways’ publications as part of a body of work that makes for a compelling argument that modern and devolved rail services not only deliver the everyday function of people movement but also drive real economic and social improvements long term for the places they serve.”

UTG says it will use the positive results to make the case to the government for investment in rail ahead of the upcoming Autumn Budget.

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Comments

Lutz   11/10/2017 at 16:37

Worth a good read.

Manchester Mike   11/10/2017 at 21:24

Agreed. The country needs more of these projects, and not micro-managed or sunk by DfT.

Andrew JG   12/10/2017 at 04:35

Spot on Manchester Mike.

Noam Bleicher   12/10/2017 at 10:12

We should be doing much more with tram-trains. They're a way of providing a much better service on suburban branches, linking to street running or tunnels in city centres to relieve pressure on busy city main line stations.

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