Powers for Transport for the North are ‘crucial next step’
Rail Minister, Jo Johnson, has called upon northern leaders to drive forward vital northern transport projects, during his meeting with Transport for the North members.
The Rail Minister attended the first Transport for the North Partnership Board meeting in Liverpool. TfN, has recently been granted unprecedented powers to drive forward long-term strategic transport projects, with proposals to be considered by government.
Jo Johnson met with leaders across the region to discuss the new powers and encourage the north to speak with ‘one strong, unified voice’ to help drive forward projects, such as Northern Powerhouse Rail.
TfN was legally established as England’s first sub-national transport body – backed by £260M of government funding – earlier this month.
Rail Minister Jo Johnson said: “Between 2015 and 2020 the government will have spent over £13Bn – more than any other in history – to transform northern transport, boosting economic growth and unlocking the incredible potential of the great towns and cities of the north.
“Establishing Transport for the North is a crucial next step in giving the north greater influence than ever over transport investment. It is imperative that the north now speaks with a strong, unified voice to identify where we can work together to transform journeys for people.
“The fantastic progress on upgrades to Liverpool Lime Street, which will enable more trains every hour and direct services to Scotland, demonstrates our unwavering commitment to delivering the transport links the north needs.
“With significant new powers to drive forward transformative projects like Northern Powerhouse Rail and smart ticketing, I am confident that TfN will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of northern transport.”
During his visit, the Rail Minister viewed progress to create an extra platform at Liverpool Lime Street, part of delivering the Great North Rail Project worth well over £1Bn. The project will see Network Rail deliver major upgrades to platforms and signalling at the great Victorian station, as part of the Great North Rail Project.
Due to complete in summer, the extra platform will allow three new services per hour to Liverpool Lime Street.
Patrick Cawley, director of route sponsorship at Network Rail, said: “Our major transformation of Liverpool Lime Street is a key part of the Great North Rail Project, and it will be fantastic to show Rail Minister Jo Johnson what we’ve done so far and what work is currently being delivered while the station remains open.
“Once complete in October this year, passengers will see completely remodelled platforms and two brand new platforms, increasing the total number to ten.
“Longer, better managed platforms will accommodate longer trains, helping provide more space and seats for passengers. This is vital ahead of the significant increase in passengers expected in the coming years.”
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