Transport for the North (TfN) has appointed a rail boss to oversee infrastructure and train operations, including the trans-Pennine upgrade.
Following secretary of state Chris Grayling’s recommendations, TfN has created the role for Richard George, the former chairman of First Group, First Great Western, First Great Eastern and First North Western.
George also served as director of transport at the London Olympics and is currently global head of rail infrastructure at SNC Lavelin.
He will assume his role following final agreement between Transport for the North and the Department for Transport on the details of the appointment.
Transport for the North is also pleased to announce that terms have been agreed between the Rail North Partnership and Northern on compensation for some regular travellers in the most disrupted areas. An announcement will follow from the train operating companies with the scheme implemented as soon as possible.
The news on compensation follows the announcement yesterday of an enhanced Delay Repay scheme for Northern passengers. From December, passengers whose journeys are disrupted by 15-29 minutes will also be able to claim compensation under the Northern Delay Repay scheme – currently only those delayed by 30 minutes or more can claim.
TfN chairman John Cridland said: “Our focus as a Board is on a rail service that is reliable, resilient and environmentally sustainable and we will continue to press the industry in order to deliver on our vision.
“Richard George’s appointment is a major step forward for the travelling public of the North and a clear indication that Government is listening to the views of Transport for the North.
“It will enable us to address the structural issues relating to the rail industry that have had a major impact on passengers, while the imminent implementation of the further compensation scheme we have been seeking will help passengers who were disrupted earlier this year.”
The TfN board also set out the priorities that is wants to see the trans-Pennine upgrade deliver.
The board concluded that the upgrade should target journey times of 40 minutes between Leeds and Manchester and 62 minutes between Manchester and York, provide 6 long distance trains per hour, while allowing for the same frequency of local trains, and provide greater capacity through provision for longer trains.
Provisions for freight and creating an “environmentally sustainable” route have also been identified as priorities for the route.
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