A plan for rail that falls short

By Marcus Johns | 07 July 2021

Last month, the Government unveiled the long-delayed White Paper, the Williams-Shapps plan for rail. Emerging in response to the 2018 northern timetable fiasco, it presents significant change for the railways, including replacing franchising with a new public body, ‘Great British Railways’. You would be forgiven for thinking that a ‘plan for rail’ provides certainty; but for the North, this plan falls short.

As is so often the case with Whitehall, the plan is opaque on the role of devolution, local leaders, and regional bodies like Transport for the North. Meanwhile, Government drags its feet on other plans for rail in the North, like commitment to HS2, Northern Powerhouse Rail, and generally any rail investment.

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