City regions should gain control of their local rail networks, the Passenger Transport Executive Group has said.
The group, which represents the metropolitan area transport executives (PTEs), said the success of rail devolution in London, Merseyside and Scotland showed that other major conurbations should gain powers over funding and operation of trains.
PTEG chair Neil Scales, said: ‘It’s time to end remote control from Whitehall and realise the full potential of urban rail for the city regions.
“As locally accountable strategic transport authorities we are well placed to give big city rail networks the priority they deserve as part of wider integrated transport networks for the city regions.”
He said local control would mean a better deal for passengers because it would bring more focus on performance and on ensuring that local rail was fully integrated with public transport networks.
Merseyrail is a self-contained network with track and trains run by the Merseyside PTE, but Mr Scales said elsewhere greater involvement by PTEs in service specification might be more suitable.
Transport for London has taken over a network of five lines from national rail, now named London Overground, which are now outside the rail franchise system and run controlled through TfL by London mayor Boris Johnson.