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Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail

Volume 697: debated on Thursday 24 June 2021

What steps his Department is taking to implement the policies set out in the Williams-Shapps plan for rail. (901745)

What recent assessment he has made of the potential effect of the Williams-Shapps plan for rail proposals on levels of investment in the rail network and infrastructure. (901752)

The transformation of our railways has now started and passengers are already benefiting as we are investing billions in rail across the UK, including with the flexible tickets just announced.

Given York’s historic connections and its strategic location, does my right hon. Friend think that it would make the perfect location for a new headquarters for our Great British Railways?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right: it is a stunning location. I launched the Williams-Shapps rail review at the York National Railway Museum. I commend it to everybody in this House and I think he is right that York could provide a very attractive location for Great British Railways, although that matter is some way down the line yet.

The world’s first passenger railway station is located on Liverpool Road in Manchester. As the Secretary of State knows, Greater Manchester has an objective to integrate rail stations and commuter rail services into a single joined-up public transport network alongside bus, Metrolink, walking and cycling. The best way to do that is to devolve the necessary funding and powers for rail, so can the Secretary of State reassure me that Great British Railways, in partnership with places such as Greater Manchester, will not shut down the route to securing this?

Yesterday I was at what will become Great Britain’s biggest ever railway station built in one go—Old Oak Common—so it is fantastic to hear about the railway station in the hon. Member’s constituency, which was the first ever railway station. I think it is now a museum, if I am correct. I know that he has read and studied the Williams-Shapps rail reform and will have taken particular note of page 41, which contains information about that devolution plan. I do not think it will disappoint him when it comes to bringing together those services—a matter that I was speaking to the Greater Manchester Mayor about just this week.