On this week’s episode of RTM’s Track Talk, host Ailsa Cowen is joined by Jim McMahon MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Transport. Jim divulges why we should be leading from the front on technology and innovation, the dangers around trimming back on HS2, and his belief in the potential of the North, as a real powerhouse and not just as a slogan.
Jim discusses the gaps in support from Government during the pandemic for rail operators, particularly open-access operators, “we would like to see them extend the support they’ve offered to franchise holders towards our open access providers like Hull Trains.”
HS2 is another big talking point due to recent speculations around the eastern leg being completely wiped out. Jim details, “if you start trimming back that project, you’re not going to get the full benefits of it” and “we should have north, south connectivity, we should have east, west connectivity.”
Jim also talks about accessibility in our rail stations, “the idea that on the current trend we’ll be waiting 50 years to have fully accessible stations is just not good enough at all.”
He also highlights that, “had the North of England had the same money as London and the south, over the last decade we would have had an additional £66bn. What do we get in this budget? £4bn.”
In terms of the future, he explained: “When we see investment in the industry when we see investment in revenue and capital from the government, you’re also seeing a direct investment in the future.”