Decision details

Cumbria County Council's Affiliation with Rail North

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: Yes


Rail North is a partnership of Local Transport Authorities in the north of England, governed by a Leader’s Committee which will involve a nominal fee.


The Assistant Director – Corporate Governance presented a report on Rail North,  the organisation established with the aim of promoting the devolution of rail franchising from Central Government to a partnership of Local Transport Authorities (LTAs) in the North of England. It was proposed that this partnership be known as the Association of Rail North Partner Authorities (the Association) to be governed by a Leaders’ Committee consisting of one Member from each of the partner authorities.

Detailed governance arrangements were being drafted and a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) had been established as a company limited by guarantee called Rail North Limited (RNL).  Members noted that a revised appendix had been circulated following some further adjustments to the voting/weighting arrangements for the proposed sub groups and Leaders’ committees.

In order to be a member of RNL, authorities must be a member of the Association and cover the annual running costs of RNL.  It was proposed that costs be apportioned in accordance with voting rights.  Initially, this was likely to be a nominal amount (possibly in the region of £36,000 to be split between all members and there are potentially 30 possible members. The anticipated cost for Cumbria would be between £1,000 –£2,000).

The County Council had an opportunity to be part of the Association and of RNL and needed to make a decision whether or not to join.  There was an opportunity to join and then withdraw if the forthcoming new franchise arrangements for Northern and TransPennine Express currently scheduled to commence in February 2016 result in risk factors or an increase in the membership fee which Members find unacceptable.



(1)   that the County Council become a member of both Rail North Ltd (RNL) and the Association of Rail North Partner Authorities (the Association) and meet its share of the running costs of the Association of Rail North Partners which was estimated to be between £1,000 and £2,000 for the period up to the start of the franchise commencement subject to approval of the final terms;

(2)   responsibility be delegated to the Corporate Director Environment and Community Services to enter into the Rail North Limited Members’ Agreement, once the terms are known, in consultation with the Leader, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport;

(3)    Keith Little be appointed to the Association;

(4)   Geoff Cook be appointed as a substitute member to the Association;

(5)    the Council’s membership of both Rail North Ltd (RNL) and the Association of Rail North Partner Authorities (the Association) prior to franchises becoming operative be reviewed;

(6)   a further report on the governance arrangements associated with Transport for the North (TfN) and the implications for the County Council be received in due course.

Report author: David Jenkinson

Publication date: 10/02/2015

Date of decision: 05/02/2015

Decided at meeting: 05/02/2015 - Cabinet

Effective from: 18/02/2015

Accompanying Documents: