Transport for the North responds to DfT Integrated Rail Plan update
Following the DfT’s update, Transport for the North is calling for an investment plan that delivers the best deal for rail across Northern England.
Following a further update from the UK’s Department for Transport (DfT) on plans for an Integrated Rail Plan for the North and the Midlands, Transport for the North (TfN) has emphasised the need for a rail investment plan that delivers the best deal for the North.
The updated document provides further detail to the statement made by the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and outlines the terms of reference for the integrated rail plan for the North and Midlands, which will be informed by an assessment from the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC). It will take into account schemes such as HS2, Northern Powerhouse Rail and Network Rail enhancements, among others. The plan is set to explore:
- How best to integrate HS2 Phase 2b and wider transport plans in the North and Midlands
- How to deliver benefits from investments more quickly
- Improving efficiency and reducing costs, drawing on lessons learnt from Phase One
- Approaches to sponsorship and delivery, and how to take account of the views of local leaders.
Chief Executive at Transport for the North, Barry White, said: “The North’s economy has struggled for too long in the straight jacket of poor infrastructure and cannot wait any longer before these problems are addressed. It’s positive that the government has made speeding up the delivery of infrastructure benefits to the North a basic tenet of this rail investment plan. We can’t wait at the back of the queue whilst major schemes progress elsewhere.”
White added: “The Integrated Rail Plan will look at how best to dovetail schemes like HS2 and Network Rail’s enhancements, alongside the much-needed Northern Powerhouse Rail. That work must be focused on delivering the maximum economic, social and environmental benefits for the North’s communities. Exploring efficiencies can’t be shorthand for cutting ambition. We also need to ensure that the voice of the North is heard loud and clear in determining how and when this work should take place.”
Looking to the future, White summarised: “We’re discussing the next steps with our northern leaders and look forward to working with the government and National Infrastructure Commission to deliver on the joint goal of unleashing prosperity through infrastructure. The sooner we start delivering these improvements, the sooner passengers will get the modern rail services they deserve.”