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Creation of devolved Northern Route ‘critical’, says TOC boss

It is “critical” that Network Rail move forwards quickly with the establishment of a new Northern Route, Alex Hynes, managing director of Arriva Rail North, has told RTM.

Talking to RTM shortly after Network Rail’s announcement to create a new ‘virtual route’ for freight and passenger operators, Hynes stated that he wants to see Network Rail move “further and faster” on the devolution agenda.

Discussing the Shaw Report, which recommended the establishment of a new route for the north, formed from the northern sections of the current London North East (LNE) and London North West (LNW) routes, Hynes added: “We were delighted with Nicola’s recommendation.”

The charismatic MD, who is confident that the Northern franchise will be transformed by 2020, said the TOC is currently engaging with Network Rail and Michael Holden [the former CEO of Directly Operated Railways], who was appointed to look at the proposal to create a northern route.

“The benefit of creating a Northern Route is the alignment between Transport for the North, Rail North, the two Northern TOCs and Network Rail. I think that alignment could be awesome,” said Hynes.

“I look forward to seeing how Network Rail is going to fulfil the Shaw recommendations to create the route.”

He added that devolution and greater alignment between the organisations will provide an “opportunity to think longer term, more joined-up” about investment – as opposed to the stop-start investment of the past.

“I’m a massive supporter of devolution in Network Rail,” said Hynes. “I worked in a TOC pre-devolution and I worked in a TOC post-devolution, and I can tell you that post-devolution is much better. The more that gets devolved into the routes, accountable to the route MD, so they can have a relationship locally with the TOCs – I want to see Network Rail move further and faster on that agenda.”

He added that it was “critical” Network Rail moves quickly with the creation of the northern route, because “in order for me to deliver my business plan, Network Rail needs to deliver its”.

Arriva Rail North is set to sign its alliance agreement with Network Rail by the end of the month, and the TOC recently announced it had devolved responsibility within its own business with the creation of four new business regions to oversee the improvements planned following the franchise integration with Arriva.

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Andrew Gwilt   17/06/2016 at 11:39

So as Arriva Northern are ordering new Class 195's and Class 331's to replace the Class 142 Class 143 & Class 144 Pacer trains and also could replace the Class 321's used on the Leeds-Doncaster route.

Lutz   17/06/2016 at 21:11

The various new bodies need to demonstrate their abilities before expanding their remit. Nothing has been demonstrated yet, and we would want to see first how they manage their finances over a 4 to 5 year period first. Anything else would be reckless.

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