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Williams lands top rail campaign role

Former Trafford Council leader will lobby for train improvements

Published on March 22nd 2011.


Williams lands top rail campaign role

Former leader of Trafford Council Susan Williams has been named as the new campaign director for the North West Rail Campaign, which aims to improve rail services in the North West for passengers and businesses.

Williams is also a board member of the North West Development Agency and replaces outgoing director, Roger Jones. She claims some routes in the North are worse now than they were 50 years ago.

One of Williams’ key aims will be to help make the case to government for more than £500m of investment in Network Rail’s plans for the ‘Northern Hub’.

The government is also planning to re-franchise the services currently operated by Virgin West Coast, Transpennine Express and Northern in the coming years, define infrastructure plans for 2014 – 2019 and complete the first phase of planning for high-speed rail links to the North West.

Geoff Muirhead CBE, chair of the Campaign’s Steering Group, said: “During my time as chief executive of Manchester Airports Group, we were supporters of the objectives of the campaign and I was delighted to see Network Rail deliver its Northern Hub report last year suggesting a sensible solution to the railway bottlenecks in the North West.

“If we remove historic bottlenecks, we can reduce journey times and provide more capacity for passenger and freight trains; all in all this will deliver a network that is suitable for the 21st century. It is a problem of national strategic importance that urgently needs a commitment to its resolution. “

Williams said: “It will be impossible for the cities of the North to reach their economic potential if they continue to be hampered by rail services that, in the case of Liverpool to Manchester, are slower than they were over a century ago.

“It’s an issue that affects services across the Trans-Pennine route, and will continue to hamper our growth and the prospects for important northern cities and towns like Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield, Newcastle, Preston, Manchester, Warrington, Chester and Liverpool. It’s a situation that we must make headway on during the next two years.”

The campaign is supported by Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, the North West Business Leadership Team, Manchester Airport, GMPTE, Mersey Travel, and many of the local authorities in the North West. More information on the campaign’s aims and members is available here.

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5 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Eddy BeechingMarch 21st 2011.

Putting a Tory in charge of promoting railways? Thats a good idea.

AnonymousMarch 21st 2011.

And one that shamelessly hopped on board Peel Holdings' campaign against an unprecedented £3bn investment into public transport as part of the TiF bid. Great.

Whatever your opinion of the bid were, I suspect what we have here is a bandwagon jumper rather than the intelligent, articulate and determined lobbyist that this role demands.

Brian CMarch 22nd 2011.

Surely the role of this organisation is one that is already carried out by our civil service? I bet that if this was shut down nobody would notice apart from the people who draw a salary from it. Lobbying? lobbying paid for by the public, requesting money from Govt to assist the private sector. There is no mention either, of any rail users such as the every day commuter on the amateurish website which itself contains drivel such as 'Born out of a desire to deliver the region's railway needs'. Yes, I can see the people behind it wandering about with shining eyes, unable to sleep as they visualise a 'new network' (or just a fat salary that they can draw on, results or not)

Ali McGowanMarch 22nd 2011.

The TIF was a fundamentally flawed concept and a load of the bumpf that went out with it harped on about Metrolink. You'll see that much of the network is already going ahead without TIF and that TIF didn't offer much at all. That's why it failed so catastrophically. Give this woman a chance - we need someone to shout up and get more dollar our way, instead of all the London-centric improvements that go ahead and cost a bomb (Jubilee line, Cross Rail, Thameslink). I fully support capital city investment, but Mcr should get a slice of the pie, too. 2.3m is a lot of bums on overcrowded, clapped-out trains (apart from FTPE).

Thomas the tank engineMarch 24th 2011.

Great. Government employees employed to talk to one another. Whatever next?

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