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.
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.
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.