Tobyn Hughes, who leads on rail for the Urban Transport Group, said:
'Today’s news represents progress in better aligning Network Rail with the realities of a devolving rail network. Devolution of powers over rail networks in Merseyside, Scotland and London has, over time, brought with it greater investment, higher passenger satisfaction and better performance. Rail services in the North are now also benefiting from much greater local control, with rail services in the West Midlands to follow. However, the full benefits of devolution will only come when the development of rail infrastructure is more closely linked to the way in which devolved rail services are planned and managed. At present all too often Network Rail projects which are vital to devolved authorities wider transport strategies are subject to drift and rising costs as senior Network Rail staff attention is focused elsewhere. If the Government’s ambitions for accelerating growth in the Northern Powerhouse, Midlands Engine and elsewhere are to be achieved then this can’t continue. Today’s news on the North is a step in the right direction, although as ever it will be outcomes that count. For us that means a more responsive Network Rail that understands our priorities and which delivers on agreed schemes on time and on budget.'
For more contact Jonathan Bray on 0781 804 1485
The Urban Transport Group brings together Transport for London, Transport for Greater Manchester, North East Combined Authority, West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Transport for the West Midlands, Merseytravel and South Yorkshire PTE.