Urban Regeneration and Rail, part 2

Previously: urban regeneration and rail development is more than increased land values next to new stations (taxed by the Community Infrastructure Levy) and lower land values next to new track (paid from taxes as compensation). What else can we consider?
One aspect which receives some attention in textbooks is the conflict within rail systems between local stopping trains and long-distance services. As an example from Manchester, the long-closed rail station at Longsight and the barely-open station at Ardwick are both on key routes for long-distance trains. The reasons for a station closure are rarely simple, but the pressure for long-distance services adds to the reasons to reduce or end local services. And these pressures are often highest within the inner city ‘doughnut’ surrounding the city centre and each rail terminus, thereby removing these inner communities from the connectivity benefits held by suburbs and commuter towns further out. Curiously, a rural station may be closed because there are too few passing trains; whereas an inner-city station may be closed because there are too many trains wanting to pass.
Equally the new ‘Northern Hub’ programme of rail improvement projects is a good example of how to improve local rail services because the new layouts will separate train routes which are currently in conflict. Local politicians have especially noted that significant local service improvements should be possible within north Manchester, a disadvantaged quarter of the city.
There are also light-rail or tram systems, such as the expanding Metrolink network in Greater Manchester, which provide a local rail service with greater access to urban centres by running on-street as well as on segregated track (usually previously used for heavy-rail).
It is a matter of public policy to direct or ‘bend’ these light and heavy rail urban developments towards re-connecting disadvantaged areas – serving the poorer areas that commercial services would otherwise just rush past. The skill or craft in implementing this public policy direction is an area to be explored next.

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