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Rail Review must deliver further devolution to realise world-class railway

The Government’s ‘root and branch’ review into rail must bring about further devolution of rail responsibilities if the UK is to realise its ambition of creating a world-class railway, says the Urban Transport Group.

The call comes as the organisation, which represents the country’s largest city region transport authorities, responded to Keith Williams’ Rail Review with a set of principles which must underpin rail reform.

In the response, it noted that where devolved administrations or authorities had been given responsibilities for rail services, overall it has led to higher levels of investment, better performance and increased passenger satisfaction. The Rail Review is therefore an opportunity to deepen and widen the benefits of rail devolution to more people and to more places across the UK, and to provide greater long-term investment in city region rail networks.

Ben Still, Managing Director of West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Urban Transport Group’s lead Board member for rail, said:

“Rail devolution works – for passengers and places – because devolved administrations and authorities are closer to the ground and can more easily see and realise the opportunities for better rail services to support their wider goals. Combined with greater long-term investment in rail networks, it is key to realising the world-class railway our people and places deserve. 

“We have had a very positive dialogue with Keith Williams and we look to forward to further constructive engagement. We have now set out the principles which will be the foundation for our future input into the process and which will inform our response to more detailed reform options as they emerge from the Review.”

One third of all rail trips are now made on a service which is run in full, or in part, on behalf of a devolved authority.

To view Urban Transport Group’s full response to the Rail Review, click here.

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