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TfGM to renew 10-year plan in light of unexpected improvements in the north

Ahead of CP6 industry submissions and in order to acknowledge some unforeseen changes since its previous rail plan, TfGM has decided to renew its 10-year investment blueprint.

The plan, covering 2016 until 2026, will take into consideration a string of improvements that have taken place in the GM rail network – such as extra rolling stock, new franchises and key infrastructure uplifts – since it published its previous rail plan in 2012.

In a GMCA report released ahead of the TfGM Committee meeting on 10 June, the transport body said it appreciated the 2012 plan, meant to run until 2024, did not cover “an appreciably long time in rail planning terms”.

But there have been a number of changes since then, some of which were not foreseen when the original plan was drafted. The new Northern and TransPennine franchises, for example, no longer run on a no-growth basis, and a series of improvements are set to take place in the north, such as the Ordsall Chord and the Northern Powerhouse Rail.

Work to support the new 10-year plan, which will be written along with constituent authorities, will “signpost future rail demand over the next 25 years, with significantly increased passenger numbers and a more diverse range of journey demands being anticipated”.

“As a result, the new TfGM Rail Plan will need to be more strategic and multi-modally coherent than the previous edition, and offers the opportunity to consult with a wide range of current users including commuters, occasional travellers and also, non-rail users,” TfGM’s chief executive, Jon Lamonte, said in the report.

Covering all years until 2026 will allow the transport body to consider two investment periods (CP6 and CP7) and will cover the opening of the first phase of HS2, which will come attached to major timetable changes as classic compatible high-speed services are rolled out in Manchester.

“It will also fit well with the Rail North Long Term Rail Strategy and the TfGM 2040 Strategy to ensure integration across the north of England for rail and across transport modes in GM to an even greater extent than ever before,” Lamonte added.

Early drafting of evidence has already kicked off, with initial meetings with representatives of the region’s 10 councils held in April and May. These meetings were intended to discuss local aspirations for the whole of Greater Manchester, assess responses to the 2040 strategy, and draw evidence from past rail documents, such as the Rail North electrification and route improvement strategies.

Between June and July, the body will meet with TOCs, FOCs, Network Rail, rail user groups, Rail North and other relevant authorities ahead of public consultations in September and October. TfGM intends to publish the final rail plan by the end of this year.

(Top image c. Alex Thorkildsen)


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