SLC Rail was proud to sponsor “Transport for the Northern Powerhouse”, a prestigious event led by the most senior decision makers, transport experts and professionals. The event was chaired by Henri Murison, Chief Executive of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership and organised by The Met Club, a business networking organisation which serves likeminded, influential and senior decision makers in the Yorkshire region.

Presentations and discussions covered some of the most important transport issues and decisions that will affect the economy and society in the North for years to come. Henri Murison welcomed the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, to the event.

Chris Grayling announced that work would start on improvements to the railway between Manchester and Leeds through Huddersfield and that Network Rail had submitted proposals; an announcement of the details would follow. He also said that he had just come from Humberside where Siemens announced their intention to create a train building facility. He repeated the Government’s commitment to Transport for the North.

Under Henri’s chairmanship there were sessions about highways and railways, as well as session in which the Secretary of State answered questions from the audience.

In the morning, the discussions centred on highways, bringing out many key issues about the strategic network of highways in the North as well as about the local roads network. SLC Rail was especially delighted to welcome Stephen Joseph, the Director of the Campaign for Better Transport. Stephen was clear in his insistence that whatever changes are made to the transport networks and infrastructure across the North, it can no longer be at the expense of any aspect of the environment.

The afternoon session focused on railways and was chaired by Tim Wood, the Northern Powerhouse Rail Director of Transport for The North. This session brought out many key issues about the strategic railways of the North and the planning processes currently under way at Transport for the North on future developments.

The session also covered – through the contribution of Richard Allen of Arriva Rail North – the major changes in train services and the arrival of almost 300 new railway train carriages that will be introduced progressively from the Autumn of 2018 as a part of the current rail franchising arrangements. When fully operational, the franchise changes will create a railway with the same services will operating every day of the week.

Graham Botham, Network Rail’s Strategy and Planning Director North, set out the template of the activities that Network Rail has completed in the North in recent times and the challenges that face his organisation as it seeks to operate, maintain and improve a railway that carries both freight and passenger trains every day of the week.

At the close, Henri Murison said that the breadth of the issues covered had made the event a significant contribution to the debates that range across all the issues which have to be resolved if transport in the Northern Powerhouse is to be transformed into the economic driver it needs to be for the North to achieve full prosperity everywhere.