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Region's railways among poorest in the country, says research
7:00am Monday 9th December 2013 in News
RAILWAYS in the North-East are among the worst-performing in the country, according to research published today (Monday, December 9).
Consultants Credo and the Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) hailed services in Scotland, London, the North-West and the West Midlands.
But a relatively sparse rail network in the North-East means services are less accessible in the region.
The survey also suggests devolving rail franchises to local decision-makers, something a partnership of northern councils has already lobbied the Government for.
CBT chief executive Stephen Joseph said: “The research exposes the huge disparities in the quality of train services across the country.
“Importantly, it suggests the answer is to give local administrations more control over their rail networks.
“By devolving more decision making we can make full use of local knowledge and target investment where it will bring the biggest benefits.
Credo’s transport practice director Matt Lovering said: “The research highlights important issues for rail right across the country.
“For the south east, it reveals how much the London economy relies on the trains, but also the increasing disquiet among commuters at the cost of getting to work.
“There’s strong performance in the West Midlands and the north west showing the benefits of the investments made there.
“The east of England, on the other hand, scores much less well, raising questions about how rail can best support the region’s burgeoning economy.
The Department for Transport’s franchising director, Peter Wilkinson, said: “This study raises important issues about the relative performance of the rail industry across the UK.
“There are challenges for all regions in improving the performance of our railways.
“We, the industry and local government must consider how we best work together to tackle the issues this report raises.”
A spokesman for the Rail Delivery Group, which speaks on behalf of the rail industry, said: “While there is always room for improvement, rail passengers are travelling on services that are unrecognisably better when compared to 15 years ago.
“Passenger satisfaction is at a near record high with 500 million more journeys each year being rated good or satisfactory according to the independent passenger watchdog.”
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