Transport bodies unite to ‘rebalance UK economy’

Midlands Connect’s Maria Machancoses and Barry White from Transport for the North

Transport bodies Midlands Connect and Transport for the North have signed what they are calling a “landmark” Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

The deal will see the organisations working together more closely towards “a mutual vision for rebalancing the UK economy through sustainable transport improvements”.

The agreement includes a pledge to establish a Midlands Connect–Transport for the North Rail Forum. Senior officers will work together on areas of common interest and shared opportunity, including the future development of the East Coast and West Coast main lines, HS2 Phase 2a and 2b, and work being undertaken by Growth Track 360 in North Wales and Cheshire and the Constellation Partnership in Staffordshire and Cheshire. The forum is expected to meet on a quarterly basis.

Midlands Connect’s Maria Machancoses said: “The Midlands and the North share many common aspirations: we are both innovative and ambitious regions that recognise how critical transport investment is to rebalancing the UK economy and supporting productivity and prosperity in the long term. What improves connectivity in the Midlands will inevitably help the North to grow as well, and vice versa. That’s why this agreement is so important.

“I’m particularly excited by the establishment of a Midlands Connect–Transport for the North Rail Forum, which will help us ensure our Midlands Rail Hub proposals align with the development of both HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail. As we work with the Government and partners towards becoming a statutory STB, we can learn a lot from Transport for the North’s experience in gaining statutory status earlier this year. I look forward to working together even more closely as we strive to rebalance the British economy.”