To consider the report of the Interim Heaad of Investment and Planning and to receive an update on readiness for the December 2022 timetable change and progress with infrastructure development.
Lead: Chris Mason
6.1 Members received the report from the Strategic Rail Director who highlighted the key points within the report.
6.2 Mr. Richard Harper the Chair of the Manchester Taskforce provided Members with an update. He explained that the new timetable is designed to improve the situation in relation to delays in central Manchester through reducing the congestion which became apparent in 2018. He added that if a comparison is made between the December 2019 timetable and that which is about to be introduced there are fewer trains making complex routes across Manchester which means less delay will be spread across the region. They are also longer, but also fewer trains more evenly spaced, and whilst this will have an impact on some journeys there will be a big improvement for many. He further explained that standardised service patterns will mean an even delivery of capacity for passengers and will allow for better interchange which will meanfewer trains with better spacing on the Castlefield Corridor.
With regards to infrastructure Mr. Harper highlighted that the industry, through the Task Force, has been closely monitoring readiness for the new timetable. Some infrastructure works have been completed, whilst others are close to completion and are being monitored closely. Work has also been taking place to train drivers on new routes; none of the risks give specific cause for concern, and mitigations are in place.
The Committee was reassured that the Task Force will be closely monitoring the implementation of the timetable.
6.3 Mayor Burnham enquired as to “what success looks like” regarding implementation of the timetable and also requested greater clarity on the infrastructure timeline.
Mr Harper explained that a comprehensive analysis of performance will take place pre- and post- timetable change which will look at all of the detailed root causes.The one measure which is particularly important for the timetable is the level of congestion delay and this will be looked at closely. He explained that the modelling which was undertaken showed that the new timetable should reduce that by 20% and that is the measure that will be monitored.
He then went on to highlight the opportunity for electrification schemes on the Northwest quadrant out of Manchester coming to fruition and the works in Salford and Manchester Victoria.
The Committee was informed that Network Rail is producing work which will be published in the spring which will provide a further update and hopefully remove the vagueness around infrastructure work beyond 2025.
6.4 Mayor Coppard raised the issue of there being no link in Sheffield to Manchester Airport and requested an update and requested the opportunity for South Yorkshire to be more involved in the Task Force.
Mr. Harper explained that the service to Manchester Airport is understood and is on the list of service business cases for future. Mr. Golton explained that this is something that TPE are working on.
Mayor Coppard asked Mr. Harper to write to him outlining the plan.
6.5 Cllr Hinchcliffe highlighted that there is no link from Bradford to Manchester Airport despite this being promised 3 years ago and requested that a similar approach be taken in West Yorkshire as is being taken in Manchester.
The Strategic Rail Director agreed with Cllr Hinchcliffe on the approach due to many interlinked issues in the Leeds and Bradford areas.
1) That the Committee notes the progress on implementation of the December 2022 timetable;
2) The Committee notes the continued progress with development and delivery of the infrastructure upgrades identified in the Blueprint in the short and longer term;
3) That the Committee notes the next steps including further development of the longer-term infrastructure requirements.