Business Lawyer Welcomes £1.2bn Railway Transformation Plans

Improvements Will Boost Government’s Northern Powerhouse Agenda

09.12.2015

David Shirt, Press Officer | 0161 838 3094

Plans announced today to help transform the UK’s northern region’s rail services have been welcomed by a leading Sheffield business lawyer.

The Government has today announced that it intends to award Arriva Rail North Limited and First Trans Pennine Express Limited the contracts to manage rail services across the north of England and Scotland.

As part of the long-term franchise deals, the companies will oversee a £1.2bn investment in improving the current  services including the addition of over 500 new carriage and the removal of Pacer trains. It is expected that the move will allow 40,000 extra passengers to be transported during busy times and add more than 2,000 extra services.

Both operators will also support the roll out of ‘Oyster-style’ ticketing on public transport across the region.

The £1.2bn investment by the two companies will also play a vital role in supporting the Northern Powerhouse, a scheme dedicated to rebalancing the economy by creating jobs, opportunity and growth and also delivering better journeys across the region.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, said: "We promised passengers a world class rail service that would make the Northern Powerhouse a reality - and I’m delighted that we have found two operators that will deliver exactly that. As a one nation government we are committed to closing the economic gap between north and south. This deal, and the joint management of the franchises, will bring the Northern Powerhouse to life.”

Chris Burchell, Managing Director of Arriva’s UK Trains division, commented: "We are proud to be given the opportunity to transform rail travel for passengers in the north of England and to work closely with our partners to connect towns, cities and communities like never before.We will be investing more than £1billion to deliver a step-change in quality for customers and dramatically improving services, stations, information and ticketing. Our aim is to be the communities’ local railway and to leave a positive lasting legacy for the north of England."

Tim O’Toole, chief executive of FirstGroup, said: "Our new TransPennine Express franchise will deliver faster and more frequent intercity train services between the north’s major towns and cities and we are excited to help the government achieve its vision for a Northern Powerhouse. Our plans include investment in new and refurbished trains on every part of the network, with millions more seats available, free Wi-Fi and simpler smart and mobile ticketing, allowing us to build on the success we have had over the past 11 years, in which we have more than doubled passenger journeys on the network.”

Expert Opinion
“This is a huge boost for the region and the Government’s plans to create a Northern Powerhouse. Our own UK Powerhouse report highlighted the need for improvements to transport infrastructure and I believe that many of the announcements made today will satisfy this requirement. There is a requirement for other policies to be introduced, but this marks the first steps on the road towards increasing productivity and allowing companies to attract talent from a larger pool.”
Paul Firth, Partner