All we want to-do
David Brown, leader of Transport for the North (TfN), and Alex Hynes, head of Northern Rail, have agreed that the new Northern and TransPennine Express franchises will not provide the “transformational transport infrastructure” needed to make the North of England “one of the best regions in the world”.
[North franchises ‘will not deliver transformational infrastructure’, Rail Technology Magazine, 26 February 2016]
Speaking at the Northern Powerhouse Conference yesterday, attended by RTM, Hynes added: “Someone described it to me the other day: all we want to do is travel across as fast as we can travel down.
“That implies a journey time between Leeds and Manchester of 30 minutes, which is not going to be delivered by any of the current rail schemes which are funded, which is why we have to work together and say: if we’re going to place a value on the gap in wealth and living standards between the north and the south, then we have to do something big and we have to do something different.”
Asked what this big solution would be, the Northern Rail MD said the north should focus on what outcomes it wants to deliver rather than concentrate on the specifics.
[…] Brown, who is currently leading the development of a final plan for TfN, said: “We have a lot of full trains at the moment. We’re going to roll out some longer trains and some newer trains, which gives us some breathing space for seven to nine years. By the end of this franchise, they’ll probably be full again.
“You can keep making them a bit quicker and slightly longer, but at some point, that stops – and therefore, if you want to build more capacity between two key points, you’ll need a new line.”
Why there is such a to-do about ‘a 30 minute journey time between Manchester and Leeds’, remains as unclear as ever. TfN seems to be going up a cul-de-sac of its own making.