In his latest column, High Peak MP Robert Largan discusses the rail reforms which have been announced by the government and what it could mean for the borough.
Our railways are due to get the biggest shakeup in twenty-five years. The launch of Great British Railways is a welcome signal that the Government is putting passengers ahead of ideology to deliver better services for the High Peak.
Railways have helped to drive forward innovation and growth in this country for almost two centuries, right from the birth of the industrial revolution. But in recent years, we have seen our railways start to fall behind because of a fragmented and complex system that has not kept up with the times.
By launching Great British Railways, a new public body with the familiar and iconic branding of our rail heritage will combine the best of the public and private sectors. This will help deliver faster and more reliable journeys as well as simpler fares.
Great British Railways will integrate our railways by taking responsibility for infrastructure, fares, and timetables. New Passenger Service Contracts will make it easier to plan maintenance and upgrades on our railways and incentivise operators to run efficient and punctual services.
This will lead to a better experience for passengers. For example, the introduction of new flexible season tickets going on sale from 21 June. Pay As You Go being rolled out more widely. A new Great British Railways website will also launch, covering all tickets and a single compensation system.
It is really important that the management of our railways is overhauled to help make the best of the ambitious new funding for levelling up rail connections across the country. I am banging the drum for High Peak in Parliament to make sure we get our fair share of investment.
Since being elected, I am proud to have helped secure £137 million to upgrade the Hope Valley line, which will transform journeys between Manchester and Sheffield. I will continue to hold the Government’s feet to the fire, so we really do get the more frequent and reliable services we need. I am also pleased to have convinced Northern to install CCTV at Dinting Station earlier this year.
I am also keeping up my campaigns for further improvements to High Peak rail services. For Chinley Station, I am making the case for step-free access, which is urgently needed. I will also keep the pressure on Ministers to get Gamesley Station built, which was first promised to residents over fifty years ago.
These reforms and new investment will ensure our railways can fully recover from the pandemic. But this new vision for rail will also help us to make our railways even better, providing modern and sustainable transport for everyone in the High Peak.