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Enroute's wishlist for our new Metro Mayors

Enroute’s wishlist for our new Metro Mayors

David Frankal & Harry Burr.

Last week saw the election or re-election of ‘Metro’ Mayors across the country, including three brand new mayors in the new combined authority areas of the North East, York & North Yorkshire, and the East Midlands.

These Mayors possess both hard and soft powers when it comes to transport, including the ability to fund new transport schemes through their mayoral budgets, to hold train operators to account (through structures such as the Rail North Partnership), and to bring buses back into public control through franchising. Additionally, since 2021, mayoral regions have been allocated billions of pounds through the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlements.

In 2023, many of these settlements were topped up with ‘reallocated’ funding from HS2. Whilst we opposed that decision, we reject a narrative of “either or” when it comes to national, strategic versus local investment, and we think these expanded settlements nonetheless give Mayors across the country and exciting opportunity to deliver major change.

So without much further ado, as a starting point, here are our five-point sustainable transport wishlists for every newly (re-)elected mayoralty across England:

East Midlands

Greater Manchester

  • Extend the Metrolink tram to Bolton (via Radcliffe) and Stockport (via East Didsbury).
  • Lobby the Government to revive the scrapped plans to build Platforms 15 and 16 at Manchester Piccadilly to ease congestion on the Castlefield Corridor and make proper use of the £85m Ordsall Chord (which currently carries 1tph).
  • Consider the merits of the CrossNorth Programme concept of a running Northern Powerhouse Rail through central Manchester through an east-west tunnel.
  • Commission a study into the merits of trolleybus infrastructure on the Oxford Road/Wilmslow Road corridor, the busiest bus corridor in Europe. Most modern trolleybuses in Europe use batteries to run off the electrified network, charging from overhead infrastructure along parts of their route.
  • Introduce a Congestion Charge Zone for Manchester City Centre.

Liverpool City Region


North East

South Yorkshire

Tees Valley

  • Fund, or lobby the Government to fund, electrification between Northallerton and Saltburn-on-Sea (A Tier 1 priority in the 2015 ‘Northern Sparks’ report), and the Durham Coast Line.
  • Safeguard space for a new high-speed hub station, which could form part of a new second route from York to Newcastle in the future.
  • Fund the reinstating of passenger services on the Stillington line (currently freight-only) from Stockton to Ferryhill.
  • Integrate the local bus and rail network through joint ticketing, a coordinated timetable and improved frequencies.
  • Fund improvements to segregated cycle infrastructure across the conurbation.

West Midlands

  • Progress expansion of the tram network to destinations such as Halesowen, Walsall and Solihull (Birmingham Interchange).
  • Commission a study on building a “Crossrail for Birmingham” to ease congestion at New Street.
  • Bring buses into local control through franchising or public ownership.
  • Fund improvements to segregated cycle infrastructure across the conurbation.
  • Introduce a Congestion Charge Zone for Birmingham City Centre – and step up enforcement to keep cars off cycle lanes and tram tracks.

West Yorkshire

York & North Yorkshire

  • Fund, or lobby the Government to fund, electrification and half-hourly services between York and Scarborough.
  • Operate and fund a core rural bus network that people can rely on, including linking major towns to the rail network, for example with consistent hourly buses between Thirsk and Ripon (currently 4 buses per day), and between Northallerton and Richmond (currently 3 buses per day).
  • Fund, or lobby the Government to fund, the reopening of the Skipton-Colne line for regional services and freight.
  • Fund a feasibility study into reopening the railway from Harrogate to Northallerton via Ripon.
  • Fund improvements to segregated cycle infrastructure in York and Scarborough.
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