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13.01.15

TfGM wants control of all stations in Greater Manchester

Transport bosses in Greater Manchester want control of the “cold, dreary and uncomfortable” local railway stations in the area so they can transform them into “vibrant transport hubs at the heart of an integrated network”.

Stations across Greater Manchester are managed by TOCs for the duration of their franchise, or – in the case of Manchester Piccadilly – by Network Rail. But council chiefs and officials believe there is a “golden opportunity” to vastly upgrade the stations by giving long-term leases to Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), which is promising long-term investment.

TfGM wants the Department for Transport to leave the option open for the change in the impending refranchising of Northern Rail and TransPennine Express.

Cllr Andrew Fender, chair of the TfGM committee, said: “Today is an important milestone in the journey towards a new Northern Powerhouse, and the proposals we’re promoting today form a key part of the overall piece.

“Given the short-term nature of rail industry funding and the lack of incentives on offer for delivering station improvements, we have seen decades of under-investment resulting in cold, dreary and uncomfortable stations with few – if any – amenities.

 “We believe that by handing control of stations to Greater Manchester we can address the issue of under-investment and place them at the heart of an integrated network, providing transport hubs where buses, trains and, in some places, trams all connect and make journeys easier and more comfortable.”

Most of Greater Manchester’s 97 stations are more than 100 years old and TfGM says some have received little in the way of upgrades or refurbishment in that time. More than 50 of the stations are also still classed as inaccessible for disabled passengers and those with mobility difficulties.

Cllr Fender added: “We have a golden opportunity here – one that has to be seized. There is a very real and significant risk that while every other part of our transport network will improve through devolution, our rail stations will remain largely stagnant, inaccessible and fit for the 19th century.

“What we are proposing is local management on a long-term lease so we can develop a long-term funding model. Instead of only distractedly looking seven years ahead, as is currently the case, we would be able to look 30 years ahead – longer, even.

“That’s because, instead of fleet operations and network route performance, we can focus on making stations destinations in their own right, marrying up with the regeneration and investment opportunities that will be driven by devolution.

“That gives us the scope to make up the ground lost by decades of underinvestment; for addressing the 52 stations without step-free access; for maximising the opportunities afforded by devolution; and for providing passengers with a consistent, quality experience as they wait to board their bus, tram or train.

“All of which gives our railway stations the chance to contribute more to the local and national economies.”

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

Comments

Digglegate   16/06/2015 at 20:28

Ok has anyone from TfGM taken a look at the decrepit state of many of the Metrolink station? Not exactly shining examples of welcoming transport hubs. Dark, dismal and scfuffy is the order of the day

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