The leader of Transport for Greater Manchester has been recognised for decades of dedication to the public transport cause.
Councillor Andrew Fender, Chair of the TfGM Committee, has been presented with the Service to the Logistics and Transport Industry award, part of the annual Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport’s (CILT) North West awards ceremony.
The judges for the awards were Beverley Bell (Senior Traffic Commissioner), Les Burton (Stagecoach), Bob Hind (Arriva), Ian Jones (Backhouse Jones Solicitors) and Nigel Kirkwood (Tachograph Analysis Consultants).
He was nominated by the Greater Manchester Group of the CILT in recognition of more than 30 years of campaigning for public transport improvements – including a key role in the delivery of the iconic Metrolink network.
The group’s submission states: “Councillor Fender has consistently advocated investment in, and improvement of, public transport.
“In particular, after the proposal for a rail tunnel between Piccadilly and Victoria stations (the Picc-Vic project) was rejected by the Government in 1976, he initiated a rail study in 1982 to find a solution to the problem of separate north and south side rail networks.
“There was still significant support for, and emotional attachment to the Picc-Vic project, but he achieved a commitment to review further options. The outcome of the recommended light rail solution, which we now know as Metrolink, would not have happened without him.
“In order to convince the doubters, he proposed study tours to see European and North American light rail systems at first hand, learn from their experience, and also evaluate properly the guided busway and heavy rail underground alternatives.
“Senior politicians and officers became convinced that light rail was the right solution for Greater Manchester.
“The Rail Strategy Study was undertaken jointly between Greater Manchester Council, Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive and British Rail under the chairmanship of Councillor Fender and resulted in not only the approval of the light rail network, Metrolink, but also complementary heavy rail schemes including the Windsor Link in Salford, the Hazel Grove Chord in Stockport and improvement of the case for the Airport Rail Link.
“These projects together provided a step change in the quality of the rail network and all were implemented by the early 1990s. They remain key elements today.”
Councillor Fender said: “I’m very proud of the things I have achieved, which have been as rewarding as they have been challenging, but this award pays tribute to the hard work, dedication and commitment of a great many colleagues who have worked tirelessly for Greater Manchester alongside me.
“Great challenges still lie ahead, but we look forward to meeting them head-on.”
Martin Arthur, North West Region Secretary of the CILT, said: “It was a privilege to work with Councillor Fender at the former Greater Manchester Council, with his strong commitment to improving the conurbation’s public transport through achievable, rather than grandiose, schemes.
“It is especially fitting that he should receive this award as Chair of the TfGM Committee when we are seeing the opening of major extensions to the Metrolink network, which he has supported right from the birth of the concept.”