Latest Rail News

26.06.18

Convention of the North agrees first-ever meeting after weeks of rail chaos

After weeks of widely-reported disruption and delays across the northern rail network, political and business leaders have met up in Newcastle to agree the first official meeting date for the brand-new Convention of the North, which will seek to represent the region’s views on transport nationally.

First mooted in February by Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram, Greater Manchester and Liverpool mayors respectively, the convention will be officially established this summer. Its first official meeting will be held in Newcastle on 6 September.

Council leaders, mayors, business leaders and representatives from unions, community groups and other organisations will come together to discuss the issues and opportunities ahead.

Top of the priority list will be transport, which was the original motivation behind the idea for a convention after leaders expressed concern that the government could limit some options for Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) later in the year during HS2 cost-cutting meetings. The convention was suggested as a way of aligning northern leaders and promoting a unified viewpoint on the future of both HS2 and NPR.

Since then, the region’s network has faced growing disruption and delays, particularly aggravated by Northern’s implementation of a new timetable. The operator’s boss, David Brown, recently told MPs in an inquiry that infrastructure problems, such as the failure to electrify the lines between Blackpool, Preston and Manchester, meant that the fresh timetable could not be implemented smoothly.

Even after an interim timetable was rolled out, Transport for the North (TfN) acknowledged that there were “still too many” delays, cancellations and overcrowded trains on the network. The operator and Network Rail have promised to review these failures ahead of December’s final timetable changes.

Earlier this month, northern business and council leaders also called on the government to hand TfN full powers to manage all northern infrastructure, since its limited authority at present means it is unable to avoid repeats of the ongoing timetable fiasco.

The need for greater devolution, including around transport, will be a major point of discussion at the Convention’s meeting in September.

Unlike TfN, though, it has discarded the possibility of becoming a new statutory body, but it will still meet regularly and speak for the north on national and regional matters. More details will be unveiled in the coming weeks.

The upcoming TransCityRail conference will bring together northern leaders to discuss these and other issues. To attend, book your place now!

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

Rail industry Focus

View all News

Comment

The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >

Most Read

'the sleepers' blog

Maximising efficiency requires investment in data, but it’s rewards for rail could be extensive

14/11/2019Maximising efficiency requires investment in data, but it’s rewards for rail could be extensive

Rail Technology Magazine’s Matt Roberts explains the significant role data can play within the future development of the rail industry. Standing as a cornerstone of the UK transport network, the rail industry is forever striving to in... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

Interviews

Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he would not rule out his organisation issuing future r... more >
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 projects across the UK, Pearson Business School, part of... more >