Urban Transport Group appoints transport heavyweight to investigate benefits of locally-run rail stations

Press release

Transport expert Stephen Joseph is to investigate the benefits that flow from devolved authorities' involvement in railway stations, for a new report for the Urban Transport Group. 

The report will form part of Urban Transport Group’s growing evidence base on the benefits of rail devolution, including its recent reports Rail devolution works and Rail cities UK. It will also be used as part of the organisation’s input into the Government’s Rail Review (being carried out by Keith Williams), which, amongst other issues, will evaluate the potential for further devolution of responsibilities over the rail network. 

Stephen, who recently stepped down as Chief Executive of Campaign for Better Transport, will look at the record so far of the benefits of devolved authorities’ involvement in rail stations – from large regeneration projects such as the recently opened new station at Dundee, through to the transformation of existing stations into wider hubs for transport and community use.  

The project will take a case study based-approach to showing how devolved authorities have gone about making improvements, ranging from staffing and security, and accessibility, to stations’ integration with other modes of transport and their environmental sustainability.

Urban Transport Group will publish the report on the findings early next year.

During his 30 year tenure with the Campaign for the Better Transport, a charity committed to promoting sustainable transport policies, Stephen cemented his role as one of the UK’s foremost experts on transport. He has gained significant knowledge and insight of local rail networks, and how devolution of them can bring substantial benefits to communities. 

Ben Still, Managing Director at West Yorkshire Combined Authority and lead Board member for rail at the Urban Transport Group, said:

“We have consistently made the case for greater devolution of rail networks to local authorities because of the benefits it brings.

“Stephen’s work will focus specifically on the benefits for stations from greater devolved authority involvement. From investing in new stations and transforming existing ones, to serving new housing developments and improving safety and security for all rail users, this project will demonstrate – through real examples - how devolved authorities are making a difference to how railway stations can provide a better service for both passengers and the places those stations serve.”

Stephen Joseph said:

“Rail stations are more than just access points for trains; they are hubs and gateways for communities, and are often key features in their cities, towns and villages. Devolution of rail services to local authorities and devolved administrations has allowed them to make huge improvements to the stations in those services. I hope that through this report, I'll be able to showcase these achievements and the potential for more stations to become centres for development and attractive places for people and passengers."