The Anonymous Widower

Should Greater Manchester Have More Control Of Its Stations?

I ask this question because of this article in Global Rail News, which is entutled Manchester Seeks Station Devolution.

I don’t think there is a simple answer to this question.

As an example take the case of Haggerston station, near to me in London.

The station is owned by Transport for London and managed by London Overground, who also put their names on the trains.

But the actual operator is Arriva Rail London, who are paid a fee to run everything by London Overground.

It sounds complicated, but if Transport for London want to add a station, which they haven’t yet, they would decide this with the various London politicians.

Transport for London may not have added a station, but they have promoted the extension of the Northern Line to Battersea Power Station and they are putting the funding together to extend the Bakerloo Line to Lewisham.

Merseyrail works under a similar model and they’ve just announced the construction of Maghull North station and the purchase of a fleet of new Stadler trains.

So why shouldn’t Manchester and a few other cities have control of their stations?

This is a quote in the article from Jon Lamonte, TfGM’s chief executive.

The recent redevelopment of Irlam rail station has already showcased how our vision can become a reality, demonstrating just what can be achieved when local stations realise their full social and economic potential.

In some ways the local knowledge and control is what is important. If everything is under an elected figurehead like a Mayor or Transport Commissioner, then if it all goes wrong, they will feel the wrath of the electorate.

The problem with ,local control comes, when a decision involves other Local Authorities of perhaps a different political hue.

Suppose in Manchester that for their own perfectly valid reasons, Manchester wanted to move some Liverpool services between Manchester Victoria and Manchester Piccadilly stations.

Liverpool might not like this and the problem could rumble on and on.

So who has control of the regional stations has to be chosen with care.

In some ways, it would be a great advantage to both Liverpool and Manchester, if they both ran their stations using the Merseyrail model.

March 20, 2017 - Posted by | Transport | , ,


  1. Interesting – Manchester is different from other local authorities in a way I haven’t come across or heard about anywhere else. Manchester City Council are very strongly against discriminating against any because they are “people of colour”, differently abled, transgender, LGBT, have unusual domestic arrangement (such as 12 kids), and no doubt many other things. Some years ago, it was said that it wasn’t worth applying to Manchester City Council for a job unless you were a one legged black lesbian with 6 kids by 8 fathers! They apparently used to sift out all the people who considered themselves one of the groups involved,and interview them first, and they then only interviewed the white British able bodied, cis gender, etc candidates if none of the others were suitable. Which in my book is discrimination. Now, more and more places are having removable top sheets on forms, with personal information on it, and the appointment panel don’t have that sort of information when they short list. But since the concept of positive discrimination is still around, even tough it isn’t as open now, I can’t help wondering what strange things they would do to the railways.

    Comment by nosnikrapzil | March 21, 2017 | Reply

  2. It would be Transport for Greater Manchester, so Salford, Stockport etc. would have a say!

    Comment by AnonW | March 21, 2017 | Reply

  3. TfGM are another creature altogether. For the first however many years the trams were operating, people could not take scooters on them, possibly certain types of wheelchair too, but not certain about that. They will now let SOME on, a specified list, and users have to pass a test to get a permit (I am ok with the latter, because I believe all scooter users should have to pass a test, and insurance should be compulsory). I don’t have a permit. My scooter wasn’t on the approved list 2 years ago when I bought it, although it was new out then, and I believe it is on it now. And I have taken and passed a test, and have valid insurance. Snag is that the group who organise this is staffed almost entirely by people with a disability, several of whom are not great on the phone because of speech issues. And they don’t answer the phone a lot of the time anyway.

    Comment by nosnikrapzil | March 21, 2017 | Reply

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