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Monday, January 19, 2004

Where is Thomas the tank engine

The rather anonymous Transport Minister, Alastair Darling (wasn't he in Blackadder?) announces a major overhaul of the railway system in which the role of the SRA will be reduced. There are alos reports of regional controllers being appointed. This is an opportunity for Wales. The Assembly has powers over roads, buses and freight but none over the railways. This is in direct contrast to Scotland, where their Parliament can direct the SRA. A single Welsh franchise has been created but it is underfunded and will lead to few improvements in the short-term. If Wales were to have its own "fat controller", appointed by the Assembly, and if we were to have the power and the resources to direct the development of the Country's rail network, then we would be in a very good position to deliver an integrated transport system in which buses meet trains meet planes.

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