Latest Rail News

05.03.15

Transport for the North should get £15bn devolved funding – IPPR North

The government should commit to devolving a £15bn transport funding package over 10 years to local authorities ‘to make the Northern Powerhouse a reality’, according to IPPR North. 

The think-tank has produced its ‘Transport for the North’ report, the launch of which RTM attended in Manchester today where we heard from Simon Kirby, chief executive of HS2 Ltd, and Vernon Everitt, TfL’s managing director of Customer Experience, Marketing and Communications, about the plans. 

The report is a blueprint for the north to take greater control over its own transport decision-making via the Transport for the North (TfN) body, emulating Transport for London in the capital. 

Formed in order to bring forward a more detailed One North investment proposals by March 2015, and to work with the Department for Transport on a northern transport strategy, the TfN partnership is constituted of the five northern city regions together with Hull and the Humber. It is a separate body to Rail North, which is made up of many more local authorities and focuses on rail franchising issues as well as long-term investment. 

IPPR North has claimed that TfN would help redress these disproportionately low levels of investment, after revealing that planned spend per resident on transport infrastructure from 2014-15 onwards was £3,095 for London, but much lower for the northern regions: £460 in the north west and £263 in the north east, for example. 

839 disparity

As part of a three phase approach for developing TfN, the think tank has recommended that a transport commissioner for the north should be appointed as well as move towards a contactless ticketing system and managing its own rail franchise. 

Within the latest report, IPPR North said that TfN should “maximise the economic, social and environmental performance of the north of England by ensuring that it has the most effective forms of connectivity within and between its constituent parts, and extending out into national and international networks and markets”. 

Ed Cox, director at IPPR North, highlighted that this vision will be achieved through a clear focus on three overlapping outcomes: a more productive and competitive northern economy; a more accessible and accountable transport network in the north; and a more environmentally sustainable northern transport network. 

Cox, an author of the report, told an audience at PwC’s Manchester office: “The north of England has experienced disproportionately low levels of government investment in its transport infrastructure. I want to set out a plan for devolving and integrating transport systems in the north. 

“Transport is absolutely key if we’re going to drive growth in the north of England. But we have seen huge disparities both historically and in what we plan to spend in the future. This must be addressed.” 

The think-tank is calling on chancellor George Osborne to use his last Budget of the Parliament to give a £15bn devolved funding package to local authorities. A move Cox believes is “entirely possible”. 

In the latest study it highlighted Sir David Higgins’ 2014 report which said in order for the north to fully benefit from the High Speed Two (HS2) rail link, internal connectivity must be substantially improved and an integrated national transport system put in place.

Simon Kirby (pictured), chief executive at HS2 Ltd, told the audience that phase 2 will significantly reduce travel times to the north west, with faster and easier connections between northern cities creating increased opportunities to strengthen and to grow. 

 829 Kirby

“In terms of east-west connectivity, Sir David Higgins flagged the issue in 2014 of poor connectivity between Liverpool and Manchester, Manchester and Leeds, Leeds and Hull,” he said. “Sir David recommended to the government that they invest in improving rail in between east and west – this would significantly reduce journey times between Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Hull.” 

Kirby added that this would stimulate local economies and more work is being done on this matter, especially by TfN. “We are working closely with them to integrate our plans for transport in the north.” 

Jon Lamonte, CEO of Transport for Greater Manchester, added that TfN is far more than speaking with one voice on what government should do for the north. 

“It is about re-assigning power between Whitehall and the north to be able to shape and prioritise on the pan-northern networks in the interest of growth,” he said. 

“Through TfN we intend to establish the right arrangements to ensure that all transport decisions are taken with a wider knowledge of the local growth potential.” 

Lamonte welcomed the latest IPPR report, adding: “When TfN’s report comes forward in the next few weeks it is, and always has been, an interim report. We are on a journey. We won’t achieve everything in one step. But we are getting on the right track, with the help of people like IPPR North, for delivering a stronger plan the north.” 

Vernon Everitt, TfL’s managing director of Customer Experience, Marketing and Communications, also discussed how the north can learn lessons from the transport system operated in the capital. 

“There has been success of the framework we have in London,” he said. “The main ingredients to delivering this include having a solid institutional framework to start with; secondly having an integrated transport authority that genuinely blends roads, rail, buses and everything together; and the third is steady and sustained investment.” 

Everitt also backed plans for ‘open-loop’ ticketing systems being used across the north, which allow payment by contactless bank card or mobile phone. He stated that providing customers with good information and hassle-free ticketing can deliver very fast benefits. 

However, he added that while the report should be welcomed there is perhaps an opportunity to up the pace in terms of how things are developed in terms of technology and improving customer experience. 

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

Comments

K.G.Walshaw   09/08/2017 at 13:07

Typical government (any colour) to spend most of the money in London. They seem to be ruled by the Civil Servants who want soft bedding in the south. What about the 13 million of us in the north, and what are our MPs doing - not a lot.

Add your comment

 

related

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Northern leaders warn Treasury against scrapping under-fire HS2

23/05/2019Northern leaders warn Treasury against scrapping under-fire HS2

Scrapping HS2 would be a “disaster” and would undermine Britain’s “national prosperity for decades to come,” more t... more >
Network Rail unveils new regional managing directors

23/05/2019Network Rail unveils new regional managing directors

Network Rail has announced five new regional managing directors as part of its “evolution” towards a more passenger-focused approach.... more >
£800m worth of rail haulage contracts awarded by Network Rail

22/05/2019£800m worth of rail haulage contracts awarded by Network Rail

Network Rail has awarded contracts for rail haulage and the operations of its engineering trains and seasonal treatment services for Control Peri... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projec... more >
Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

12/03/2019Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

RTM sits down with Samantha Smith, sole female member of the TransPennine Route Upgrade Alliance Leadership Team, to find out more about encourag... more >
TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

22/01/2019TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

Peter Molyneux, Transport for the North’s (TfN’s) strategic roads director, has been leading on the development of the seven economic... more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. ... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Meeting clients, suppliers and stepping forward

23/05/2019Meeting clients, suppliers and stepping forward

The Midlands 30-year plan will deliver many economic benefits and will need a wide and diverse supply chain to deliver some of the key projects. ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

The railway franchising model is broken, and passengers are paying the price

13/05/2019The railway franchising model is broken, and passengers are paying the price

Meg Hillier, MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch and chair of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), gives her view on the state of the UK’s ... more >
NSAR: Tackling the digital skills shortage

13/05/2019NSAR: Tackling the digital skills shortage

The National Skills Academy for Rail (NSAR) chief executive Neil Robertson returns to write for RTM, this time, to assess the digital skills shor... more >
Delivering cost-effective electrification

13/05/2019Delivering cost-effective electrification

David Clarke, technical director of the Railway Industry Association (RIA), sets out the findings of a new report on how rail electrification can... more >
5G: An opportunity to revolutionise on-train connectivity

13/05/20195G: An opportunity to revolutionise on-train connectivity

Simon Holmes, group head of digital (engineering) at FirstGroup, introduces us to the 5G solution being delivered for the rail sector.  ... more >