Tobyn Hughes who leads for pteg on rail said:
'Nicola Shaw's report, published today, identifies the key issues facing Network Rail, and we are pleased that she recognises that one of the challenges is working with city areas to help rebalance the national economy. In particular we share and recognise the concerns that the report highlights around long term planning processes that don't fit with wider city region and pan-regional transport planning, and the cost, bureaucracy and delay in getting the rail schemes implemented that our areas need as part of their wider growth plans. The report also rightly highlights the way in which transport decision making is being devolved in Scotland, Wales, London and the English regions and the potential benefits of ensuring that the geography of the railways maps onto a devolving Britain. In the next stage of the review we will be making a strong case for a much closer alignment between the way the railways operates and the way in which more transport decision making is being devolved. Through Rail North and West Midlands Rail the city regions are in the process of taking on more responsibilities for local and inter-regional services. At the same time we are driving forward wider transport strategies, both individually and together, through pan-regional bodies like Midlands Connect and Transport for the North. Whilst we fully recognise the need to protect the integrity and standards of the national rail network, and to ensure that freight and long distance services prosper, we also need a railway that is accountable to the devolved areas it serves.'
'We will also be setting out to the Shaw Review how we can contribute to making the railways more efficient and accountable railway which maximises its role in supporting growth. With greater involvement we can ensure that rail scheme prioritisation ties in with wider regional plans for economic development and multi-modal transport strategies. We can be an informed and committed sponsor for investment programmes in our areas and we can also accelerate rail investment and delivery by taking on the role of making schemes happen ourselves where there is appropriate scope to do so.'
For more contact Jonathan Bray on 0781 804 1485