Patrick McLoughlin – 2016 Speech on Infra-Structure

Patrick McLoughlin
Patrick McLoughlin

Below is the text of the speech made by Patrick McLoughlin, the Secretary of State for Transport, at the ExCel centre in London on 28 June 2016.


Thank you for having me here today.

Everyone in this room knows these are unpredictable times.

So it’s nice to be able to get back to the hard certainties of concrete and steel.

And it’s encouraging that so many have come here to discuss exactly those things.

European referendum

Now, I want to address the events of the last week directly.

I passionately wanted Britain to remain part of the European Union.

But the people of the United Kingdom delivered their verdict.

Now the entire government and I will work to deliver their instruction.

Yes, we face a period of adjustment; economic, social and political.

But as we step out into our new place in the world, I sincerely believe we do so from a position of strength.

We have spent the last 6 years delivering a plan that today means Britain is the strongest major advanced economy in the world.

Employment is at a record high.

Growth has been robust.

And the fundamentals of our economy are strong.

Many of you in this room have helped make it so.

Together we’ve got Network Rail’s (NR) orange army improving our railway tracks.

And we’ve rebuilt those key hubs such as Birmingham New Street and Manchester Victoria, to improve the daily commute.

Together we’ve delivered dozens of major road improvement projects, to give our roads the capacity to handle future growth.

And we are working on dozens more.

Together we’re nearly at the finishing line on Crossrail, which will transform London’s rail network and link our largest airport with our largest financial district.

So it’s thanks to your efforts that we enjoy some of the best infrastructure of any developed nation.

It means we have the best possible tools to tackle the challenges ahead.

And as we face up to the enormity of our task, be reassured.

Our work is not yet done.

The business of strengthening Britain’s economy continues.

HS2 will rebalance our economy and generate colossal benefits for the supply chain.

As the National Audit Office confirmed today, this project is on track.

We are making progress on HS3, or Northern Powerhouse Rail, which will transform the north, alongside the £13 billion we are spending improving transport in the area.

We are transforming northern roads, and electrifying northern railways.

The first ever Road Investment Strategy will shortly be backed up by a second, delivering the largest spend on our roads for a generation.

And on the railways, we have the most ambitious rail plan since the Victorian era.

We are electrifying over 850 miles of railway, and delivering a better service for passengers through a franchising system that is reaching maturity.

Altogether, transport spending will rise by 50% in this parliament.

Because those who control the budgets know exactly how vital this programme is.

And as we address the future and the consequences of our vote to leave the European Union (EU), one thing is certain.

Investment in the long term infrastructure we need, has become more important, not less.

Passenger demand is increasing; we are making twice as many journeys as we did in 1970.

And so is the demand for economic growth.

Let me give you two examples.

One from the beginning of the last government, and one that struck me this week.

In 2010, one of the first decisions that landed on George Osborne’s desk was the recommendation that he cancel Crossrail.

The argument was clear:

Our economy is in crisis and Crossrail will cost billions

Thank goodness the Chancellor saw it differently.

Yes, we could have used the Crossrail funding to pay down our debt.

But diverting that investment would only create new problems down the line.

The economic boost and extra capacity that Crossrail is bringing is badly needed.

And backing out would’ve shown the short-termism that got us into an economic mess in the first place.

Now no one’s arguing that we shouldn’t have done it.

Even the Public Accounts Committee has called it:

A textbook example of how to get things right

The case for Crossrail that we came across in 2010 is the same case for new infrastructure now.

Yesterday we formally opened a new station at Kirkstall Forge in Leeds.

It’s the second new station we’ve opened in and around Leeds in recent months.

Kirkstall Forge station cost the government less than £10 million to build.

But it’s the catalyst for a £400 million investment in the area by the private sector, leading directly to a thousand new homes and a world-class new business park.

There are countless examples of investment like this across our country.

And be certain: the investment will continue.

Yet there are also important questions ahead for the UK, as well as big opportunities.

Take aviation capacity in the South East.

We remain committed to expansion.

And we remain committed to delivering runway capacity on the timetable set out by Sir Howard Davies.

This remains one of the most important decisions for the government to take.

All sides will have their views.

Mine is this: as we make decisions about our future in the coming weeks and months, it is vital that the UK is seen to be open for business and building the infrastructure it needs to compete.

So yes, there are things we don’t yet know the answer to.

Things still to work through.

But the instructions we received from the British people were clear.

And as we deliver those instructions we proceed with confidence.

Confidence that our infrastructure is fit for the future.

That our economy is fundamentally strong.

And that business and government will pull together to deliver the best for Britain.

It’s a winning formula.

And it means that Britain is ready for the challenges of the future.

Thank you.

Patrick McLoughlin – 2016 Statement on Transport and Infrastructure

Patrick McLoughlin
Patrick McLoughlin

Below is the text of the speech made by Patrick McLoughlin, the Secretary of State for Transport, in the House of Commons on 19 May 2016.

Mr Speaker, before I introduce the debate I would like to make a brief statement about the loss of Egyptair air flight MS804.

The aircraft – an Airbus 320 was carrying 56 passengers and 10 members of crew between Paris and Cairo – disappeared from radar at approximately 01:30am UK time, over the waters of the Eastern Mediterranean.

We understand that one of those passengers on board is a UK national and that consular staff are in contact with the family and are providing support.

I know that the House will want to join me in saying that our thoughts are with the family and friends of all those on board.

The government is in touch with the Egyptian and French authorities and has offered full assistance.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch has offered to assist with the investigation in any way it can.

Mr Speaker, it is a pleasure to open this debate on Her Majesty’s gracious speech.

I welcome this opportunity to talk about our plans for transport and infrastructure.

Yesterday’s speech was all about building a stronger, more resilient, more modern economy.

Which provides security for all people.

And opportunity at every stage of life.

A country fit for the future.

No matter what challenges it faces.

Because if we’ve learned anything from the past decade.

It is that we need to be better prepared.

More responsible during times of plenty.

So we can weather the more difficult times.

In the last Parliament we had to make some tough economic decisions.

But they were the right economic decisions.

We earned a hard-fought recovery from the recession and the financial crisis.

In 2014 Britain was the fastest growing major advanced economy in the world.

In 2015 we were the second fastest after the United States.

And in 2016 the employment rate hit yet another record high.

More families are benefitting from the security of a regular wage.

And unemployment has fallen once again.

The deficit is down by two thirds as a share of GDP.

And the OBR forecasts that it will be eliminated by 2019-20.

So, that recovery is still going on today.

And with the global economy slowing, it is even more vital that we stick to our long-term economic plan.

But it is not just a responsible fiscal strategy that we need.

We also need to invest for Britain’s future.

To create the capacity and space we need to grow.

For decades, we have been slipping down the global infrastructure league table.

If I take an example from recent history, let’s say the period between 1997 and 2010, Britain slipped from 7th to 33rd in the world.

The result?

We’ve watched as our roads have grown increasingly congested.

Our railways overcrowded.

And our town centres choked with traffic.

But if we can’t move people or goods efficiently from one place to another, how can we expect businesses to invest in Britain?

Building the infrastructure that Britain needs to compete is one of the defining political challenges of the age.

So we have spent the past 6 years in government turning things around.

Climbing up the global infrastructure investment league table – and now in the top 10 ahead of France, Japan and Germany.

And action is underway.

New wider roads.

Faster new trains.

Better urban transport.

In the south-west: widening the A30 and the A303. Brand new express trains on order.

In the north-west: Manchester Victoria station transformed, electric trains on the northern hub, motorways widened.

In East Anglia: the A11, open; the Norwich Distributor Road, under construction; finally taking action on the A47 and the A14.

In the Midlands: a transformation at Birmingham New Street; the M1, partly converted to four lane running.

I could go on. Crossrail in London. Action right around the country.

A Treasury report last year revealed that over £400 billion of infrastructure work is currently planned across the country.

And the biggest slice of that is transport.

Overall, transport infrastructure spending will rise by 50% this Parliament.

That means we can invest £15 billion to maintain and improve our roads.

The largest figure for a generation.

£6 billion for local highways maintenance.

And giving local authorities multi-year funding settlements, for the first time ever.

With an additional £250 million fund to help tackle potholes.

We’re adding over 1,300 lane miles to our motorways.

We are delivering the most ambitious rail modernisation programme since the Victorian era, a £40 billion investment.

Crossrail, Thameslink, electrification, Intercity Express Programme.

New carriages being built in a new factory, opened by the Prime Minister, in the north east by Hitachi.

A company that’s now moved its global rail HQ to Britain.

And of course HS2, which starts construction next year.

This is a new start for infrastructure that will make Britain one of the world’s leading transport investors.

And the gracious speech also supports legislation to back the Infrastructure Commission.

The commission’s influence is already being felt.

Following its recommendations, we’ve invested an extra £300 million to improve northern transport connectivity.

On top of the record £13 billion already committed across the north.

Given the green light to HS3 between Leeds and Manchester.

And allocated £80 million to help fund the development of Crossrail 2.

This all adds up to an ambitious pipeline of schemes, that will not only free up capacity, boost freight, and improve travel.

But that will also help us attract jobs, rebalance our economy, and make us a more prosperous country.

Now of course while some of this is happening there will be disruption.

There will be inconvenience.

We need to plan for it and get it right.

And when the work’s done you get the benefit: as at Reading station, or the new Wakefield station, or Nottingham station.

Infrastructure that will prepare Britain for the future.

That’s what’s behind the Modern Transport Bill.

A bill to pave the way for the technologies and transport of tomorrow.

We are already developing a charging infrastructure for electric and hybrid vehicles.

Now, driverless cars and commercial space flight may seem like science fiction to some.

But the economic potential of these new technologies is vast.

And we are determined that Britain will benefit by helping to lead their development.

Driverless cars will come under new legislation so they can be insured under ordinary policies.

These new laws will help autonomous and driverless cars become a real option for private buyers and fleets.

The UK is already established as one of the best places in the world to research and develop these vehicles.

Just as we are leading the way with real world testing to ensure cars meet emissions standards, cleaning up the air in our cities.

Through this bill, we will strengthen our position as a leader in the intelligent mobility sector, which is currently growing by an estimated 16% a year.

And which some experts have said could be worth up to £900 billion worldwide by 2025.

This bill will allow for the construction of the first commercial spaceport.

A full range of viable options have been put forward and we support those bids.

This bill will create the right framework for the market to select what the best locations will be.

We will also legislate to encourage British entrepreneurs to make the most of the commercial opportunities of space.

This will form part of wider government support for the UK space sector, aimed at raising revenues from almost £12 billion to £40 billion by 2030.

That is around 10% of the global space economy.

We are also preparing for HS2.

The biggest infrastructure scheme this country has seen for a generation.

To transform railway travel across Britain.

To free up capacity on the rest of the network

And to rebalance our economic geography.

Already before a single track is laid the “HS2 Factor” is having an impact.

We’ve seen blue chip companies like Burberry choosing to move to Leeds.

While HSBC has relocated its retail banking headquarters from London to Birmingham.

And cited HS2 as a significant factor in its decision.

We’ve seen ambitious regeneration plans around places like Curzon Street station in Birmingham and Old Oak Common.

And cities like Leeds, Manchester, Crewe and Sheffield are preparing for Phase 2.

For businesses, HS2 means they can access new markets.

Draw their employees from a much wider catchment area.

And – perhaps for the first time – consider moving offices away from London.

So when HS2 construction begins next year, we will be building something much bigger than a new railway.

We’ll be investing in our economic prosperity for the next half a century and more.

We’ll be training a new generation of engineers.

Developing skills for a new generation of apprentices.

Rebalancing growth that for far too long has been concentrated in London and the south-east.

And we’ll be firing up the north and the Midlands to take full advantage of this transformational project.

After overwhelming support in this house, the bill has now moved on to the other place.

And I look forward to the Lords Select Committee.

Mr Speaker I am a strong supporter of remaining in the European Union.

But I am glad that we will no longer only be able to get a high speed train from London to Paris or to Brussels but we will also be able to get them to Manchester, to Leeds, to Sheffield, and to Birmingham.

But no matter how big the scheme.

And how vital for Britain’s national infrastructure.

We always remember that the vast majority of journeys people make are local in nature.

So local transport, and the local infrastructure, is no less crucial to preparing Britain for the future.

Backing safer routes for more cycling and better buses.

So we’re devolving power out to cities and regions.

To give communities a much bigger stake in local planning.

Transport is just one aspect of that.

But as we heard yesterday, the Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill will also give communities a much stronger voice.

To make the local planning process clearer, easier and quicker.

To deliver new local infrastructure.

And support our ambition to build one million new homes.

While protecting the areas we value most, such as green belts.

Our reforms have already resulted in councils granting planning applications for more than a quarter of a million homes in the past year.

But our plans go much further than that.

To become a country where everyone who works hard can have a home of their own.

The gracious speech also featured the Local Jobs and Growth Bill.

Which will allow local authorities to retain 100% of local taxes to spend on local services by the end of this Parliament.

That is worth an extra £13 billion from business rates.

Councils have called for more fiscal autonomy.

Now they’re getting it.

A real commitment from central government.

Real devolution.

And real self-sufficiency for regions across England.

Arguably the biggest change in local government finance for a generation.

The bill will give authorities the power to cut business rates, to boost enterprise, and grow their local economies.

As announced in the Budget, we will pilot the new system in Greater Manchester and Liverpool.

And increase the share retained in London.

Yesterday also illustrated how we’re devolving responsibility for local transport services.

The Bus Services Bill will provide new powers to local authorities to improve bus services and increase passenger numbers.

It will deliver for passengers, local authorities and bus companies.

All working in partnership together to improve services.

Stronger partnerships will allow local authorities to agree a new set of standards for bus services.

Including branding, ticketing, and how often buses run.

Passengers want to know when their next bus is going to turn up.

And how much it is going to cost.

So the bill will mandate the release of fares, punctuality, routes, and real time bus location information.

This will help the development of transport apps.

As it has already in London, now right across the country.

New journey planners, and other innovative products, to help passengers get the most out of buses.

This is about delivering for customers, and empowering local communities.

New powers to franchise services will be available to combined authorities with directly elected mayors.

Just as they are in London.

And private operators will be able to compete through the franchising system.

Together these measures demonstrate government’s ambition to deliver transport that helps the public to get around and get on.


Madam Deputy Speaker, the government has a record to be proud of.

Investment. Up.

Projects. Underway.

Journeys. Getting easier.

Backing growth, jobs, new technology.

Helping local people get the homes and the infrastructure they need.

Striking a fairer deal for local government.

Giving devolution to local regions

Making Britain a leader.

A stronger economy is at the heart of the gracious speech, and transport infrastructure is playing its part.

Patrick McLoughlin – 2016 Speech on High Speed Rail

Patrick McLoughlin

Below is the text of the speech made by Patrick McLoughlin, the Secretary of State for Transport, in Leeds on 16 May 2016.

Opening remarks

Thank you for that introduction.

I’m delighted to be here this morning, and to be joined by my PPS Stuart Andrew MP, a local MP who is well in touch with what is happening here in Leeds.

I’m delighted to be here today for the launch of the ITC report this morning and I’m grateful to Matthew, John and everyone at the ITC who helped put it together.

Cities and HS2

There is no doubt in my mind that major cities like Leeds, Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield – now I’ve got to be careful here because I don’t want to miss anyone out – Liverpool, Newcastle are, without any doubt, where a lot of our country’s wealth is generated.

Where we see inward investment directed.

And we want to see most jobs created.

So it’s no surprise that Britain’s journey over the past six years, from recession to recovery, has been driven by our city regions.

Yet compared with the majority of major cities on the continent, ours have been suffering from a distinct disadvantage.

While we continue to rely on an overcrowded Victorian railway network, western Europe worked out a long time ago that in our modern world the best way of carrying large numbers of passengers between cities – quickly, efficiently, comfortably and reliably – is high speed rail.

But although we’re late joining the high speed club, we do have one very important advantage: we can learn from the experience of others.

From the design, construction and operation of their high speed railways, but also from the cities which host high speed stations, and their success in stimulating economic growth, so we can make HS2 the very best high speed railway in the world.

Commitment to HS2

I know there have been various reports in the papers, about; whether HS2 is going ahead, whether it is going to Leeds and going to Manchester?

I can tell you today that it is going to Leeds and it is going to Manchester. Because we are totally committed to the whole of the high speed network.

Of course it’s controversial. It’s controversial in certain areas, which will have a train line going through where they wouldn’t have had one before, perhaps with no station so they feel they’re not going to get any direct advantage.

I understand that, and I don’t dismiss these concerns.

But it is worth remembering, when the very first railway between London and Birmingham was put before parliament it was defeated in the House of Commons, because the canals were considered perfectly adequate.

As has been said earlier on – and it’s important to remember this – we’re not talking about a railway for next year, we’re talking about a railway for 20 years time.

We’ve got to get the planning, and we’ve got to get the investment right. These projects do take time to actually implement.

But I can tell you this: that if the government was considering planning a brand new motorway from the north to the south, it would also be incredibly controversial.

There is no major infrastructure project which is not controversial at the time of construction.

But there aren’t any major infrastructure projects that I can think of, that once they are there, that people turn round and say: “No, you shouldn’t have built it.”

So I’m not dispelling some of the problems that there are.

Of course we have to keep an eye on the costs. We’ve had to keep an eye on the costs on Crossrail, or as we now call it the Elizabeth line. And HS2 is Crossrail’s answer for the northern cities.

It’s about addressing the balance between transport infrastructure investment between London and the north.

There are those that think its unequal. Judith (Councillor Blake) might complain – in fact I’ve heard her complain! – that there is not enough investment in some of our cities.

I have some sympathy with that.

But I would point out that some of the improvements we’ve seen, for example at King’s Cross Station and St Pancras Station, actually benefit northern cities too.

These stations used to be places where you didn’t want to spend a minute longer than you needed.

Today both St Pancras and King’s Cross are destinations in their own right. And if you arrive half an hour early for your train, you really don’t mind.

Listening and continually improving

The fact that we are now just a year away from construction means that the report being launched today is well-timed.

Given the size of the project – the biggest infrastructure scheme in this country for generations – it’s critical that we continue to develop and hone our plans.

Indeed, the HS2 project has always been about listening to people’s views, and continually improving.

Since 2010, when we set out our plans for a new high speed railway HS2 has never stopped evolving. It’s included: the biggest public consultation in government history; a massive programme of engagement with local communities; and of course, rigorous examination as the Bill passes through all its parliamentary stages.

At every stage we have listened, learned, and adapted to make HS2 the very best it can be.

ITC – guiding principles

And that process continues. That’s why we’re here today.

I’m pleased the report reinforces the message that HS2 will not just improve transport and not just speed up journeys – it will also improve capacity too.

I have to confess that being called HS2 can sometimes overshadow what it’s also about.

In 1992, 750 million people a year used our railways. Last year 1.7 billion people used our railways. Capacity on some of our networks is saturated.

When people call for more local services, they don’t seem to appreciate that once built, HS2 will give us that capacity.

But it is also a catalyst for revitalising and regenerating our cities.

I welcome the emphasis it puts on close engagement and collaboration, the importance of improving transport connectivity around HS2 stations, and the need to be responsive to change.

And I echo the advice that cities with HS2 stations need to show leadership, so each of them grasps the unprecedented opportunities that this extraordinary project offers.

These are the guiding principles of the ITC report.

And it’s good to know that many of them are already in evidence – particularly for Phase One of the scheme.

What we’re already doing

We’ve seen Birmingham set out ambitious regeneration plans around Curzon Station and the Old Oak Common and Midlands Growth Strategies have now been completed.

Leeds, Manchester, East Midlands, Crewe, and Sheffield are also preparing for the construction of Phase Two.

Just as government has been engaging and listening, so have HS2 cities; working closely with local businesses, local authorities, and local people.

And where necessary adapting their programmes.

Here in Leeds, a station redesign has delivered a much more integrated and successful result.

We’ve seen blue chip companies for example choosing to move to HS2 cities.

While HSBC has relocated its retail banking headquarters from London to Birmingham, and cited HS2 as a significant factor in its decision.

For businesses, HS2 means they can access new markets, draw their employees from a much wider catchment area, and – perhaps for the first time – consider moving offices away from London.

The benefits of working in cities like Leeds are self-evident: more affordable housing; a higher standard of living; quick access to beautiful countryside – whether it be Yorkshire or Derbyshire!

In Doncaster and Birmingham, construction of our High Speed Rail training colleges has begun. Councils are saying that school leavers are already applying for places at the college.

A recent article in the Financial Times reported how hotels in Crewe are already seeing an upturn in business, and quotes Cheshire East council saying that the difference HS2 is making to the town already is “tangible”.

So the economic benefits of HS2 are clear, even before a single track is laid.

European Lessons

So it’s heartening that many aspects of the report reflect work that is under way here in the UK, but it also provides fresh insight that I’m sure will be valuable to all our HS2 cities – particularly the detailed study of high speed on the Continent:

How Bordeaux launched a competition to find the best way to build 50,000 homes in the region;

How Utrecht collaborated and worked with residents;

And how different European cities have sought to attract a new generation of young people to support regeneration around stations.

I also know the report’s illuminating analysis of each city region here in the UK will be of real value.

Quite rightly it shows how each location faces distinct challenges.

But also how HS2 cities can benefit by working together and sharing knowledge.


But most of all it reinforces the message, that when HS2 construction begins – and that is next year, actual construction by the way.

Sometimes people ask me when you will start work on HS2.

Every time I go and see HS2 Ltd in their office and I see for myself there is a vast amount of work going on, a vast amount of expertise that’s already being engaged, because a lot of the work is in the planning.

But construction will begin next year.

And we will be building something much bigger than a new railway. We’ll be investing in our economic prosperity for the next half century and more.

Now sometimes perhaps there’s a feeling that everything has to be done on a 30 year basis.

In that case the Jubilee line, when its BCR was 1, would never have been built.

The Limehouse Link, which had a BCR of 0.47, but has been absolutely essential for the regeneration of The City, would never have been built.

So sometimes BCRs are not the only thing we have to address when we’re looking at such investments.

We need to look at future capacities, for our northern cities, around the midlands, not just for the next 20 to 30 years but for the next 60, 70 or 100 years.

So I very much welcome this report today, and I very much welcome this conference, in helping move forward the debate.

You’ll read various things in the newspapers: some of them are accurate but some of them are completely inaccurate; most of the things I read are wholly inaccurate.

Of course there will always be pressure to look at costs, and to make sure we’re getting the best value for money – it would be insane not to do so.

But it would also be insane not to say ‘what is our transport system going to look like in 30, 40, 50 years time?’ and to make sure our great cities have those same opportunities that London has, and make sure that young people look to those cities to base their lives on, and not to move away from them.

Thank you very much indeed.

Patrick McLoughlin – 2015 Speech on Manchester Victoria Re-opening

Patrick McLoughlin

Below is the text of the speech made by Patrick McLoughlin, the Secretary of State for Transport, at Manchester Victoria Station on 6 October 2015.


It is a privilege to be here today.

To declare open a renewed Manchester Victoria station.

Manchester Victoria has been serving passengers for over 170 years.

Designed as a grand station for the greatest manufacturing city in the world.

It is a great station with a great history.

Yet over recent decades, it had been allowed to decline, as successive governments failed to invest in northern transport.

By 2009, Manchester Victoria was rated the worst station in Britain; a casualty of the north-south investment divide.

A station fit for Manchester

So 6 years later, and 3 years after work here began, it’s thrilling to see Manchester Victoria.

Once again a station fit for the city of Manchester.

No longer a symbol of northern neglect.

But proof we are building a Northern Powerhouse.

The north is receiving a wave of investment in its transport infrastructure on a scale not seen for generations.

£4.5 billion in the north west alone.

This region’s roads and railways, so important for prosperity, are being transformed.

Everyone who uses Manchester Victoria is getting not just a stunning, upgraded station, but improvements to their journey.

When we have finished, every line serving this station will have been enhanced with new infrastructure or better services.

The line to Liverpool has already been electrified, so the journey takes less than 35 minutes.

We are re-signalling the Calder Valley line to improve journey times and provide for more frequent trains.

As I speak, a tunnelling machine built in Oldham, and bigger than those used to dig the Channel Tunnel and Crossrail, is boring a new tunnel at Farnworth so we can electrify the line between Manchester, Bolton and Preston.

On the Metrolink, Transport for Greater Manchester is building a 2nd City Crossing from this station, which will increase the capacity and reliability of the Metrolink network.

And last week I was pleased to announce that work to electrify the TransPennine route to Huddersfield, Leeds and York is to resume.

This picture of change is repeated across the north.

Over the year to December, over 85 additional carriages will have been added to Northern Rail fleet for services in the north west.

From 2018, new InterCity Express trains will replace the existing trains on the East Coast Mainline.

Overall, by the end of 2019, there will be an increase in peak capacity into the big cities of the north of over one third.

Providing an extra 200 services every day.

And Pacers will have been removed from the Northern franchise.

Then looking further ahead, there’s HS2.

The tendering process for construction has begun.

And work will start in just 2 years.


So this magnificent station is the evidence.

The Northern Powerhouse is being built.

And the benefits are already being delivered.

There are 71,000 more businesses in the north west than in 2010: a clear sign our long-term plan to secure a stronger, healthier economy is working.

So, thank you to Network Rail.

Transport for Greater Manchester.

The Railway Heritage Trust.

The main contractor, Morgan Sindall.

And the staff of Northern Rail who have kept trains running throughout.

You have done a brilliant job.

You have made Manchester Victoria a station for the future.

I have no doubt that it will continue to serve the people of Manchester for another 170 years.

Thank you.

Patrick McLoughlin – 2016 Speech to Parliament on HS2

Patrick McLoughlin

Below is the text of the speech made by Patrick McLoughlin, the Secretary of State for Transport, to the House of Commons on 23 March 2016.

Madame Deputy Speaker, I beg to move that the Bill be now read a third time.

Our railways and roads power our economy.

It is almost 2 centuries since this House gave its backing to a pioneering railway from London to Birmingham.

A line which changed our country.

And on which many of our great cities still rely today.

Of course we could leave it as it is for another 2 centuries.

Congested and unreliable.

And suffer the consequences in lost growth, lost jobs, and lost opportunities.

Particularly in the midlands and the north.

But this House has already shown that it can do much better than that.

By backing a new high speed route alongside other transport investment in road and rail access across the country.

In 2013 Parliament passed the High Speed Rail (Preparation) Act, paving the way for HS2.

Backed by welcome support and cooperation from all parts of the House.

For which I wish to thank all parties.

We have made outstanding progress since then.

British contractors are bidding to build the line.

British apprentices are waiting to work on the line.

British cities are waiting to benefit from it.

Which is why today’s vote is so important.

On what will be a great British railway.

Phase One will be the bedrock of this new network.

Phase 2a will take it further to Crewe.

And Phase 2b onwards to Manchester and Leeds.

Our trains are more than twice as busy as they were 20 years ago.

And growth will continue.

HS2 will help us cope.

It will work, it will be quick, it will be reliable, it will be safe, and it will be clean.

And when it is finished we will wonder why we took so long to getting around to building it.

I know many Hon Members will want to speak so I will keep my remarks short.

I will touch on the detail of the Bill.

I will also set out the work that has been done on the environment.

And then I want to describe what will come next including what we are doing to build skills and manage costs.

First, the Bill before the House today authorises the first stage of HS2 from London to Birmingham.

This Bill has undergone more than 2 years of intense parliamentary scrutiny since 2013.

Even before Phase One of the Bill was introduced, the principle of HS2 was extensively debated on the floor of this House.

In April 2014 we had the second reading of Phase One of the Bill.

Then there was a special Select Committee.

I want to thank all members of the Committee, particularly my hon Friend the Member for Poole, who chaired it so ably.

I also want to pay special tribute to my hon Friends the Member for North West Norfolk and the Member for Worthing West – who, along with the Member for Poole, sat for the whole of the Committee Stage.

The committee heard over 1,500 petitions during 160 sittings.

It sat for over 700 hours and over 15,000 pieces of evidence were provided to it.

It published its second special report on 22 February 2016.

The government published its response, accepting the committee’s recommendations.

Many of the changes made to the scheme in select committee were related to the environmental impacts.

Building any road or rail link has impacts.

But we will build it carefully and we will build it right.

For example, HS2 Ltd have today started work to procure up to 7 million trees to be planted alongside the line and help blend it in with the landscape.

Changes at select committee will mean less land take, more noise barriers, and longer tunnels.

We have done a huge amount of work to assess environmental impacts.

More than 50,000 pages of environmental assessment have been provided to the House.

We have produced a Statement of reasons’ setting out why we believe it is correct to proceed with HS2.

This information is important to ensure that the House makes its decision – to support this vital project – in light of the environmental effects.

I expect construction of HS2 Phase One between London and Birmingham to begin next year (2017).

To enable this HS2 Ltd have this morning announced that 9 firms have now been short-listed for the civil engineering contracts for the line.

Those contracts alone will create over 14,000 jobs.

And we want those jobs to be British jobs.

This is why the HS2 skills college, with sites in Birmingham and Doncaster, will open its doors next year to train our young people to take up these opportunities.

But it’s not just about jobs. It is also about materials too.

HS2 will need approximately 2 million tonnes of steel over the next 10 years.

We are already holding discussions with UK suppliers to make sure they are in the best possible position to win those contracts.

Later this year I will set out my decisions on HS2 Phase Two.

As this happens we must have a firm grip on costs.

The November 2015 Spending Review confirmed a budget for the whole of HS2 of £55.7 billion at 2015 prices.

HS2 is a major commitment of public money, but it is an investment which Britain must make. And can afford to make.

The cost of HS2 equates to around 0.14% of UK GDP in the Spending Review period.

Now, I respect the fact that there are those in this House who take a different view of this project.

But this is about the future of our nation.

A bold new piece of infrastructure that will open to passengers in just 10 years’ time.

This is about giving strength not just to the north, but also to the Midlands.

Today I can get a high speed train to Paris and other parts of Europe, but not to Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds or Scotland.

This is about boosting the links to the Midlands manufacturing heartland.

The connections to Leeds, York, the north-east and Edinburgh. To the north-west, Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow.

It is about making HS2 part of our national railway network – such as at Euston.

Here we are not only building a world class high speed rail station, but we are also funding work by Network Rail to prepare a masterplan for Euston station.

An important step forward in our vision of an integrated hub that will enhance the area.

At Old Oak Common I have agreed to the transfer of land to the Development Corporation, paving the way for in excess of 25,000 new homes and 65,000 jobs.

High Speed 2 is a measure of our ambition as a country.

A measure of our willingness to look beyond the immediate to the future and to a hard-headed view of what we need to succeed as a nation.

This is a railway which will unlock that future.

I urge colleagues to support the Bill at third reading as they have done to date and for the carry over motion so that the Bill can continue its passage in the next session.

I commend the Bill to the House.

Patrick McLoughlin – 2016 George Bradshaw Address

Patrick McLoughlin

Below is the text of the speech made by Patrick McLoughlin, the Secretary of State for Transport, at Great George Street in London on 24 February 2016.

Good evening.

It is a great honour to be asked to give this lecture.

I would like to start by recognising the hard work of everyone who makes the railways work. From cleaning staff. To drivers. Civil engineers. Managers.

People working long, unsocial hours. Often out in awful weather conditions.

Thank you.

When the invitation came I thought about what I should say.

It was easy to think of the things I don’t need to tell an expert audience like this.

Railways matter.

The railways are – by and large – growing.

The passenger expects more.

More services, more reliability, more choice.

And that the government backs all this with a record investment programme.

And will continue to back it.

I am now in my fourth year as Transport Secretary.

Some think this is a record. However Alistair Darling did longer and went on to be appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer.

So I will not be sending a copy of this speech to George Osborne.

It is however 27 years since I first came to the department as a junior minister.

Today I want to reflect on the difference between then and now.

And between now and where we will be in a decade’s time.

Back in 1989, the railways were seen as yesterday’s industry.

Remember what it was like.

A difficult safety record.

Managers struggling against the odds with minimal, unsustained, investment.

Government’s attention – elsewhere.

What a difference today.

It is an absolute pleasure to be able to work with a confident, expanding rail industry and supply chain.

Something that would have been unimaginable to many of my predecessors.

So there is a positive future for the railways.

And today I want to talk a bit about how we might best shape the future.

About how future ministers might look back and see where we are – not just as a high point for the railways.

But part of a route to something better still.

This starts with a challenge.

All of us here face it.

The challenge of growth.

It is a great challenge and opportunity to have.

So how do we deal with it?

The answer, I think, is that we need to see the opportunities.

Be honest about the things that aren’t working.

And change things, where that’s required.

And that’s the difficult bit.

Finding this confidence to change can be hard.

Mark Carne touched on this in his speech last year.

The railways, in particular, like to look back not forward.

You can see this in the title of this lecture: the George Bradshaw address.

Named after a map-maker who began his life drawing canals but saw an opportunity in the confusing new technology of the railways.

Who realised the companies themselves were failing to give out passenger information properly and produced an independent solution… today we would call it an open-data app… a timetable so detailed that it spurred the sales of reading glasses in Victorian England.

Now we like to talk of Bradshaw’s time as the golden age of the railways.

A period described vividly in Simon Bradley’s recent book on the social impact of the rail system.

And it was an amazing time.

Today, though, we’re not competing with the Victorians. We are competing in a global market to attract investment to this country.

With countries such as China building amazing networks of fast lines.

And our past has only 1 lesson to teach us about that.

About the speed of change.

As Simon Bradley’s book shows, the Victorian railways kept reinventing themselves.

With new technology: proper brakes, safer signals, more powerful engines, and even paper tickets.

A journey in 1838 was utterly different to one in 1862 or 1912.

And the answer to our challenge, the challenge of growth, must be change too.

Of kinds we can’t even imagine today.

Because as our railways grow, we’re not trying to restore them to a lost glory.

But build something even better, doing a very different job.

Back in the 1970s passenger numbers hit rock-bottom and the network had shrunk to its smallest extent.

I’ve had a look at Hansard for that period.

Ministers faced a barrage of complaints.

Rail fares from some commuter stations into London trebled between 1974 and 1979 – way ahead of inflation.

Everyone thought trains were cold, dirty, slow, delayed and late.

Stations were grim places too.

You mostly didn’t travel by train if you had a choice of something else.

So no, we’re not going back to that. Not back to the past. Forward to the future.

Just as countries across Europe are moving towards models we pioneered in Britain.

Including private operators and open-access.

It’s great that companies such as Go Ahead and National Express are winning contracts in Germany.

But though much about the way we run the railways in Britain works, there are things that we need to change.

Speak to passengers and they are clear about it.

I want to focus on 3 areas in particular.

All 3 are linked.

And all 3 will take change from the government, as well as the industry.

The first is to be much more flexible and respond to the people who want to use the system.

Opening up new markets. Communicating better. Testing new ideas.

Not just doing things the same way because the rules require it.

And being more representative. Employing more women and more young people. Being part of the communities they serve.

The second is to work with technology better.

In obvious things like ticketing where it is absurd we still require people to print out bits of paper when almost no other part of the transport industry does so.

But also in making the system more reliable and cost effective.

Getting the most from HS2.

And perhaps most of all in understanding that even if railways don’t adapt to new technologies, others will anyway.

That a system which feels modern today could quickly seem as dated as the steam engine if it doesn’t adapt.

Finally the third area in which I think change is needed is the way in which we join all this up.

Today, there is confusion as to who is responsible for what.

That holds things back.

And it adds cost and inefficiency.

The answer isn’t to lump everything together, let alone put the state in sole charge.

But common sense reform, so that a system which works today can work even better.

Untangling the knots so that… we can bring in new ways of finding more funding and use it better to cope with growth.

So having set out what I see as the challenges let me touch on each of these areas in turn.

First, flexibility.

The truth is that we have only begun to touch on the possibilities for growth in the railways.

Where the system has been adaptable enough to provide something new, we’ve seen an extraordinary hunger to use it.

That’s true of things like the direct electric service from Manchester to Scotland, run by TPE, which has gone from virtually nothing to being some of the busiest trains in Britain.

Or Chiltern’s innovation, with fast trains to Birmingham and now Oxford from Marylebone station in London which British Rail thought so redundant it wanted to close it down.

Or intermodal freight, from ports such as Felixstowe to new hubs such as DRIFT (Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal).

Or, to take an example from my own constituency.

The railway from Derby to Matlock has seen traffic more than double since it got a proper hourly service.

But getting change like this is often painfully slow, and there are lots of opportunities which aren’t taken.

For instance online shopping has created a massive new market for the express delivery of packages from distribution hubs.

So why do the railways, with a reliable express network and stations through which millions of people pass, play little part?

We’ve seen a welcome increase in frequency on many routes.

So why are journey times are often no better than they were 20 years ago?

And why do we insist on doing engineering works often in winter, at night, over a very long period?

Rather than putting in place quicker, ambitious plans for major reconstruction with proper alternatives and information for passengers?

Like the successful project at Nottingham station in 2013.

Now, it is not for a government minister to spell out in detail what might be done differently. The industry has to look after its customers.

The point is that the industry needs more confidence and more freedom to respond.

And also the confidence to admit that building for the future isn’t an excuse for below-standard service today.

However, I have to acknowledge that when work is being done, it is not possible without inconvenience.

But the industry can work together better to respond.

I know there have been a lot of reviews in recent years.

Leading up to Nicola Shaw’s review, coming out soon.

But these reviews are making a difference.

For instance Richard Brown’s review of franchising.

And I am delighted with the way franchising has improved since then.

We have seen successful, creative bids for routes such as the East Coast and both franchises in the north.

Making a real difference to places like Huddersfield, which will soon be able to enjoy a direct service to London, for the first time since the 1960s.

And brilliant proposals for services to places which in the 1960s and 70s were in danger of losing their rail links altogether.

Places like Buxton, Saltaire or Chester-le-Street.

It’s this sort of creative intelligence that is both going to support growth and bring growth about.

Working, at the local level with community rail partnerships which are a way for users to get involved in running the services they want.

Working, too, with powerful city regions that can take the responsibility of shaping their transport systems far more effectively than Whitehall ever could.

That’s the way, for instance, that we have seen a reversal of some of the Beeching cuts.

Finding ways to bring trains back to towns that should never have lost them and whose growth requires them.

Like the Chase Line project did for Rugeley, Cannock and Hednesford.

Or for places such as Tavistock and Wisbeach, which have well-advanced plans.

And to do all this, I think we need to think about a second kind of change – in technology.

We’re on the brink of big things.

Autonomous vehicle technology is going to affect the way goods are distributed, cars are driven, cities are run.

Mobile data has produced very rapid change in the choices and information available to travellers.

With things like the rapid growth of ride sharing in countries such as France.

There are lots of opportunities for our railways in this.

But if they aren’t taken others will gain instead.

Because the demand is there.

This year, our national transport system carried more people than ever before in its history.

And next year it will carry even more people still.

Every advance in communication technology has increased demand for travel.

But if the railways are to make the most of this they will have to use technology better too.

That’s obvious in ticketing.

Passengers carry computers in their pockets that are far more powerful than the ones in ticket machines.

Constantly online, aware of their location, able to communicate.

So we can use that technology to create a better system, not for the sake of it, but because it make journeys easier.

I know that there is a huge amount of good work being done in the industry to overcome this.

But as this happens it’s important that we don’t end up with isolated, competing systems.

We need to use technology to make travel simpler.

Citymapper, a transport app founded in London, does a great job of getting you from one place to another using all kinds of transport, with live information on costs and performance.

But though there’s some brilliant work being done there’s nothing yet like it for the national rail network.

I’m sure there will be soon… And the opportunities are great.

Things like door-to-door ride sharing from commuter stations, so that people don’t have to leave their cars in busy, expensive car parks.

But of course to make the most of this technology we also need to invest in infrastructure.

There’s been some good progress on Wi-Fi on trains.

But as anyone who has tried to use it knows, the demand is much greater than the system supports.

So we need to press on with plans to sort that out.

Just as we need to press on with using better technology to sort out the physical constraints on the system.

More efficient, in-cab signalling has transformed the Northern and Victoria tube lines.

It’s going to do the same on Thameslink – where it is already being tested.

And on Crossrail, or as I will be proud to call it from now on, the Elizabeth Line.

And of course on HS2.

That is a nation-changing investment which will link up our cities, free up capacity and which is on track with legislation progressing well.

But technology isn’t just about big projects.

Heavy rail isn’t always the answer. We need more innovation, affordable alternatives too.

And that takes me to the third challenge I’ve mentioned, of joining things up better.

This isn’t a crisis. Our railways work well. Better, sometimes, than we say.

They are safe and growing.

But also under strain because of demand and because of the age of the system.

The structure has been built up over a long time, sometimes almost by chance.

But as the recent overspends and delays on Network Rail’s electrification programme show, the structure isn’t perfect.

I think everyone here would agree with that.

And we are now at the point where HS2 is about to become a reality, and part of the day-to-day planning and then operation of the network.

It’s a massive, transformational opportunity but to make the most of it we are going to need new ways of working.

Because HS2 isn’t going to be an alternative to the current rail network but part of it.

To make the most of all this we need a structure that’s clearer.

Fewer competing sources of authority.

Quicker decision making.

More responsibility with fare payers’ and taxpayers’ money.

A structure which can build a partnership of the public and private sectors working together, and draw in greater investment from both.

Because a growing industry, with a long term future, strong revenues and solid, physical infrastructure should be able to attract that investment.

Nicola is carrying out her review.

She will say more in a few weeks.

But her thinking is straightforward and right.

She’s talked to passengers, the unions and operators.

She wants to put the people who run your train back in charge of your train.

So they can make the decisions that are right for their route.

A clear, accountable system where you know who’s in charge and who needs to put things right when they go wrong.

And a system where money can be spent where it’s really needed.

Not poured in by a distant central structure or misguided regulatory rules.

This isn’t, by the way, a revolution.

It’s common sense.

And a lot of it is starting to happen already under Mark and Sir Peter Hendy.

Network Rail has already begun to give more power to its routes, working more closely with operators.

It is clear that while some things need to change, it is in no one’s interest to rip everything apart.

We must improve what is working already.

I’m confident that we can do that.

A system where the routes answer to customers and the centre doesn’t call all the shots.

Not fragmentation.

But keeping a common system in order to support local strengths not to hinder them.

Take what’s happening in the north.

Already the Northern and Transpennine franchises bring with them over £1.2 billion of private sector investment in those railways.

And decisions are being made not just at the DfT but by Transport for the North, responding to passengers, too.

I want to see that not just in the north but the south west, East Anglia, the Midlands too.

The network is a key public service.

But to make the best of it we need to draw on wider sources of funding.

So whatever Nicola returns with when she reports, the future will need to create more opportunity for private investment alongside public funding.

This is essential in helping us maintain a balanced rail economy while we continue to invest in our future and at the same time safely manage the public debt.

And put together these things – responsiveness, technology, investment and reform – will make the next few decades the most exciting, ever, for our railways.

I began this speech by reflecting on the railways when I first came to the Department, in the 1980s.

By the time the George Bradshaw lecture is given in 2026, by another Transport Secretary, perhaps, who will be able to reflect… not just on the success of the Elizabeth Line, the transformation of services in the north, electric trains to the west and the Midlands, and the impending opening of the first part of HS2… but also a massive shift in the experience of using the transport system, through technology… and an industry which is more prosperous, more self-confident and more efficient.

The challenge for all of us in this room it to ensure that we have a railway which will serve the nation in the generations to come.

Patrick McLoughlin – 2015 Statement on Rail Investment

Patrick McLoughlin

Below is the text of the statement made by Patrick McLoughlin, the Secretary of State for Transport, in the House of Commons on 12 October 2015.

On 30 September (2015), I was pleased to confirm that work to electrify TransPennine and Midland Mainline railways would resume under plans announced as part of Sir Peter Hendy’s work to reset Network Rail’s upgrade programme.

Sir Peter Hendy, the Chair of Network Rail, outlined to me how work could continue. I replied to him asking Network Rail to un-pause this work.

Network Rail will work with the Department for Transport (DfT) and Rail North to develop a new plan for electrification of the TransPennine line between Stalybridge and Leeds and on to York and Selby to focus on delivering key passenger benefits as quickly as possible. This is an improvement on the previous plan which only changed the power supply of the trains.

The new plan will deliver faster journey times and significantly more capacity between Manchester, Leeds and York. The upgrade is expected to provide capacity for 6 fast or semifast trains per hour, take up to 15 minutes off today’s journey time between Manchester and York and be complete by 2022. When the work is finished, the whole route from Liverpool to Newcastle (via Manchester, Leeds and York) will be fully electrified and journey times will be significantly reduced compared to today’s railway.

Network Rail will also recommence work to electrify the Midland Mainline, the vital long-distance corridor which serves the UK’s industrial heartland. Sir Peter Hendy proposed that line speed and capacity improvement works already in hand are added to, with electrification of the line north of Bedford to Kettering and Corby by 2019 and the line north of Kettering to Leicester, Derby/Nottingham and Sheffield by 2023.

New Northern and TransPennine rail franchise awards will be announced before the end of the year. The new franchises will deliver new train carriages and remove out-dated Pacer trains; introduce free Wi-Fi on trains; and offer a one-third increase in capacity with 200 additional services on weekdays and Saturdays and 300 more train services on Sundays.

Connecting up the great cities of the north is at the heart of our plan to build a Northern Powerhouse. The total programme of rail electrification and upgrades will completely transform the railways for passengers in the north and Midlands and help ensure that every part of Britain benefits from a growing economy.

Patrick McLoughlin – 2015 Statement on Aviation Security

Patrick McLoughlin

Below is the text of the statement made by Patrick McLoughlin, the Transport Secretary, in the House of Commons on 5 November 2015.

With permission Mr Speaker I wish to make a statement on the recent decisions taken by the government following the loss of the Russian Metrojet flight on Saturday (31 October 2015).

I know the House will join with me in expressing our condolences to the families of those who lost their lives.

224 lives were lost.

I was able to express our deepest sympathy to the Russian Ambassador yesterday when the Foreign Secretary and I signed the book of condolence.

We still cannot be certain what caused the loss of the aircraft.

But we are reaching the view that a bomb on board is a significant possibility.

Were this to turn out to be the case, it clearly has serious implications for the security of UK nationals flying from Sharm el-Sheikh.

We have therefore taken the decision that it was necessary to act.

The decisions we’ve made are based on a review of all of the information available to us.

Some of it is sensitive.

I am not able to go into detail on that information.

But the House can be assured that we have taken this decision on the basis of the safety of British citizens.

There are 2 stages to this process:

– we are working with the airlines to put in place a short-term measure – this could for example include different arrangements for handling luggage

– beyond that, we are working with the Egyptians and airlines to put in place long term sustainable measures to ensure our flights remain safe

We very much hope that it will be possible to declare that it is safe to fly to the resort and resume normal flight operations in due course.

That is why my Right Honorable Friend the Foreign Secretary, announced yesterday evening that the government was now advising against all but essential travel by air to or from this particular airport.

All UK operated flights to and from the airport have now been suspended.

We are working with the Egyptians to assess, where necessary, to improve security at the airport.

Over 900,000 British nationals visit Egypt every year. Most visits are trouble-free.

My Right Honorable Friend said yesterday, we are grateful for the continuing efforts of the Egyptian authorities to work together with us on these vitally important tasks.

The government is now working with the airline community to put into place interim arrangements for getting people home.

This is a clearly a very difficult situation for travellers and their families.

I would like to thank the airlines for their support during this difficult time and to holiday makers for their patience.

In parallel, specialist teams will be working intensively with the Egyptian authorities to allow normal scheduled operations to recommence.

The decision to suspend flights is very serious indeed and has not been taken lightly.

But the safety and security of the travelling public is of course the government’s highest priority.

We will need to be confident that security standards meet our expectations and those of the public before we allow services to resume.

I recognise, Mr Speaker, this is a stressful time for British tourists but we haven’t changed the travel threat for the resort itself.

People should keep in touch with their tour operators. We will also have consular staff on the ground providing assistance.

We have aviation security experts on the ground and will have arrangements to bring people home safely in due course.

The airlines are working with us to bring their passengers home.

No UK-bound aircraft will take off until it is safe to do so.

We do not expect flights to leave today, but we hope to have flights leaving tomorrow.

Patrick McLoughlin – 2015 Statement on the Future of Rail

Below is the text of the speech made by Patrick McLoughlin, the Secretary of State for Transport, in the House of Commons on 26 November 2015.

I wish to inform the House of the latest developments on rail investment and the recent publication of Sir Peter Hendy’s re-plan in resetting the rail upgrade programme, which can be found on Network Rail website.

In June, I announced that important aspects of Network Rail’s investment programme were costing more and taking longer. I also announced the appointment of Sir Peter Hendy as the new Chair of Network Rail, and asked him to develop proposals for how the rail upgrade programme could be put on a more realistic and sustainable footing.

Sir Peter Hendy has now provided me with his proposal for how to re-plan our rail upgrades, following his advice to un-pause works on TransPennine and Midland Main Line in September. I have accepted his recommendations, subject to a short period of consultation with relevant stakeholders. His report was published on Wednesday 25 November 2015 as part of the spending review announcements. I placed a copy of his report in the libraries of both Houses yesterday.

Firstly, I want to be absolutely clear that no infrastructure schemes have been cancelled. Flagship improvement works to build a Northern Powerhouse in the north and the Midlands are underway, helping to rebalance our country’s economy by creating an engine for growth. Electrification of the TransPennine and Midland Main Line has already resumed and will completely transform the railways by improving city to city connectivity.

Radical schemes such as Crossrail, Thameslink and works on the Great Western will make journeys better, simpler, faster and more reliable throughout the south-east and south-west. Britain’s railways are truly on the road to recovery, despite years of underinvestment by successive governments.

Sir Peter and I are both absolutely resolute in our drive to fix the problems in the planning process for rail enhancements. That is why I asked Dame Colette Bowe to look at lessons learned from the planning processes used for the 2014 to 2019 enhancements programme, and to make recommendations for better investment planning in future. I published her report on Wednesday 25 November, which I have laid as a command paper in the House and copies of the report have been placed in the libraries of both Houses.

I have accepted all of Dame Colette Bowe’s recommendations. My department, together with Network Rail and the Office of Rail and Road, are taking urgent steps to develop and implement a number of actions following her recommendations. These will ensure that an improved approach to planning and delivering rail infrastructure enhancements is put in place. I have placed a copy of my response to the Bowe report in the libraries of the House and on my department’s website.

Building the infrastructure our country needs is incredibly challenging. It depends on hard work and good design and thousands of people working night after night, sometimes in very difficult conditions. Over Christmas and New Year alone, over 20,000 members of Network Rail will be working to deliver the railway upgrade plan. This is a £150 million investment, which will provide new station facilities, longer platforms, extra tracks, new junctions and thousands of pieces of new, more reliable equipment to make journeys better.

We must continue to invest. Our railways matter, not just helping people get around, but helping them get on. It is absolutely crucial that our infrastructure is delivered efficiently and continues to represent the best value for money.

Patrick McLoughlin – 2015 Speech on Northern and TransPennine Express Rail Franchises

Below is the text of the statement made by Patrick McLoughlin, the Secretary of State for Transport, in the House of Commons on 9 December 2015.

I am pleased to inform the House of the award of 2 new passenger rail franchises. Following separate, rigorous competitions I intend to award the Northern franchise to Arriva, and the TransPennine Express (TPE) franchise to First. These awards will be confirmed subject to successful completion of a standstill period of at least 10 days.

Both franchises are due to start on 1 April 2016. The Northern franchise will run for 9 years, until 31 March 2025, with an extension of 1 year callable at my discretion. The TPE franchise will run for 7 years, until 31 March 2023, with an extension of 2 years callable at my discretion.

My department set out ambitious plans for the new franchises in our invitations to tender earlier this year and both Arriva and First have gone well beyond them; exceeding our requirements. This means that these franchises will oversee the biggest transformation of rail journeys in the north of England in decades, with an unprecedented package of improvements for passengers.

Together, these operators will oversee a massive £1.2 billion boost to rail services with brand-new modern trains, more seats, more services and a host of improvements to deliver a modern, 21st century passenger experience. This one nation government is committed to closing the economic gap between north and south, and these new franchises will help to bring the Northern Powerhouse to life. They will play key roles in rebalancing the economy, creating jobs, opportunity and growth, and will provide significantly better journeys across the region. Crucially, in a key step towards full devolution, these contracts will be managed in Leeds by a joint team from the Department for Transport and Rail North, which represents the region’s 29 local transport authorities.

Across both franchises, Arriva and First will provide much needed new-build trains, with the introduction of more than 500 brand-new carriages. They will also remove the outdated and unpopular Pacer trains from across the north. These plans will create space for more than 40,000 extra passengers at the busiest times across the north and bring in thousands of extra services a week for passengers. Alongside these investments the franchises performance will be improved to meet challenging targets to reduce cancellations and short-formations.

There will also be significant improvements for passengers’ experience, with the roll out of free Wi-Fi on trains and at stations and the installation of on-board media servers providing on-train entertainment and real-time passenger information to smartphones and tablets. Automatic delay compensation for season and advance purchase ticket-holders will be introduced across the region. First and Arriva will also invest more than £55 million in improving stations and bring them into the 21st century.

The new franchises will also mean significant returns to the government and better value for the taxpayer. On TransPennine Express, First will pay premium to the government of around £400 million over the life of the new franchise, taking the franchise out of subsidy for the first time. On the Northern franchise, Arriva will reduce the amount of annual government subsidy required by around £140 million over 9 years.

The award of these franchises is a hugely positive story for rail in the north of England. They are further proof that private sector competition is good for passengers, local communities and taxpayers. This government promised passengers we would give them the premium-quality rail services that a Northern Powerhouse deserves. I am delighted that these awards will deliver exactly that.