The boss of Transport for the North has spoken out regarding what he'd like to see happen to the transport infrastructure in the awkward part of the country outside of the M25, asking the chancellor to up investment in rail so the North's new east-west rail link may include a massive new tunnel under the Pennines.
TfN's chief exec David Brown is particularly annoyed that money's being spent on north-south links but seems to be avoiding the east-west issues, saying: "Significant efforts have been put into improving north-south links. Now it’s the time to put in a comprehensive east-west plan," asking the chancellor to budget for "...significant investment in rail movements east-west."
But no calling this Crossrail for the North. That makes him mad. Brown expanded on his ideas with: "As a northerner I get fed up of being asked: 'Do you want a Crossrail for the north?' I say no, I want something that is northern, not a southern solution. But do we want a similar outcome? Yes we do. We want big, fast, frequent trains that go at a reasonable speed across the north."
He's also fed up of people talking about London's Oyster card system, telling the Guardian he doesn't want a similar clone, saying: "It’s about people sitting getting frustrated on the M62. What do they need that would persuade them to use a northern powerhouse rail system? None of them say: 'I want a blue card in my wallet.' They want affordable travel that they know how much they are going to pay to use, with a system that is easy to use and that they can use on every train."
It's a big ask for TfN, though. With a budget of just £10m a year and a maximum extra of £300m allocated by bidding for part of a national infrastructure pot -- and no control over the deregulated buses of the region either -- it's going to be hard to do it alone, let alone join it all up. [Guardian]