New Director appointed for North West Rail Campaign

Susan Williams has been confirmed as the new Campaign Director for the North West Rail Campaign. Susan is a board member of the North West Development Agency and was, until 2009, leader of Trafford Council. She will begin her new role with the campaign immediately. She replaces outgoing Director, Roger Jones.

Established in 2003, the campaign aims to secure better outcomes from the railways in the North West of England for passengers and businesses. Susan is focussed on ensuring that the investment in the rail network is directed at those proposals which deliver the strongest set of economic benefits to the North West. During the next two years Government will re-franchise the services currently operated by Virgin West Coast, Transpennine Express and Northern; define its infrastructure plans for the railway for the five-year period from 2014; and complete the first phase of planning for a high-speed railway to the North West.

One of Susan’s objectives will be to assist in making the case to government for over 500m of capital investment in Network Rail’s plans for the Northern Hub plan.

Welcoming the appointment, Geoff Muirhead CBE, the Chair of the Campaign’s Steering Group, said: “During my time as Chief Executive of the Manchester Airports Group, we were supporters of the objectives of the campaign and I was delighted to see Network Rail deliver its Northern Hub report last year suggesting a sensible solution to the railway bottlenecks in the North West. If we remove historic bottlenecks, we can reduce journey times and provide more capacity for passenger and freight trains; all in all this will deliver a network that is suitable for the 21st century. It is a problem of national strategic importance that urgently needs a commitment to its resolution. “

The last ten years have seen a transformation in rail services across the North of England with more and more passengers choosing to travel by train. In the medium term the North West economy is forecast to continue to grow. Fast and reliable links between cities in the North will be essential to supporting the growth of jobs and businesses.

Susan Williams, the new Director of the North West Rail Campaign, said: “It will be impossible for the cities of the North to reach their economic potential if they continue to be hampered by rail services that, in the case of Liverpool to Manchester, are slower than they were over a century ago. It’s an issue that affects services across the Trans-Pennine route, and will continue to hamper our growth and the prospects for important Northern cities and towns like Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield, Newcastle, Preston, Manchester, Warrington, Chester and Liverpool. It’s a situation that we must make headway on during the next two years.”

The campaign is supported by Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, the North West Business Leadership Team, Manchester Airport, GMPTE, Mersey Travel, and many of the local authorities in the North West. More information on the campaign’s aims and members is available here: http://www.nwrailcampaign.org

ENDS

To speak to Susan Williams contact the campaign’s press office on 0161 489 8746 or email: press.office@manairport.co.uk

Published on: 22/03/2011 14:28:16