RIA North responds to TfN’s Strategic Rail Report
RIA North, a regional arm of the Railway Industry Association (RIA), has today welcomed the publication of Transport for the North’s (TfN) Strategic Rail Report.
The new report explains in detail the interventions that are needed to develop the North’s transport network, complementing the Strategic Transport Plan (STP), a 30-year vision for development of the network.
In order to meet TfN’s three objectives of utilising transport to transform economic performance, boost decarbonisation and reduce social exclusion, the report includes calls for:
- Full delivery of the Transpennine Route Upgrade (TRU), High Speed 2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail as these are fundamental to transforming the region’s economic performance.
- A rolling programme of rail electrification as this is key to rapid decarbonisation with development of battery and hydrogen powered trains where conventional electrification can not be justified.
- A consistent and reliable railway service to reduce transport-related social exclusion.
The report also notes that post pandemic recovery in passenger numbers has been strong in the region, with experts predicting that rail demand could grow by between 78% and 193% by 2050.
The new report dovetails neatly with a number of RIA North publications, including ‘Greener, Faster, Better’, which sets out how the North’s railways should be electrified and the ‘Delivering Value’ paper, which outlines a number of best practice approaches to support clients like TfN developing and procuring major projects.
RIA North Chair, Justin Moss, said “We very much welcome the publication of this report, which is strikingly consistent with RIA’s own calls for the full delivery of the TRU, HS2 and NPR and for a rolling programme of electrification. The prediction of a growth in demand is an important reminder that investment is needed now to prepare for the future.
“The report demonstrates a clear link between investment and the delivery of desired outcomes for people in the region. With Oxford Economics data showing that for every £1 invested in the railway a further £2.50 is generated in the wider economy, RIA North stands ready to work with TfN and DfT to help make the case for this investment and provide practical support when it comes to developing and procuring major projects.
“Separately, RIA North will be making the case for improving the procurement process to make it easier and more cost-effective to ultimately bring about transformational rail upgrades”.