Newcastle and York are to become Network Rail-managed stations from the start of the new East Coast franchise in 2015.
The main line stations will join Reading and Bristol Temple Meads, which Network Rail took over on April 1, under a new management model designed to improve long-term planning for the UK’s railway stations.
Network Rail will assume control of asset management and commercial activities for both stations from the start of the new franchise, leaving the new operator to focus on passenger-facing services.
The idea is that the ‘managed station – lite’ model, as it has been dubbed, will make it easier to develop long-term strategies. Network Rail will be solely in charge of maintenance and renewal works around the stations.
Like Reading and Bristol, Newcastle has received substantial investment for modernisation works and York presents further opportunities for commercial development.
‘Where we’re in the lead role, we can do more in terms of customer enhancements,’ says Jason Manley, stations specialist for Network Rail’s Network Operations. ‘Bristol Temple Meads has got a big master plan for it, so we can look long term, and we can take a better strategic view.
‘A lot of train operators are frustrated because they can’t make some long-term decisions, and they can’t always build up the business case to always do things within the term of the franchise.’