Transport for the North has formally written to the government with its official plan for badly-needed rail investment over the coming decades, which could create more than 70,000 new jobs in the North.
It comes ahead of publication of the government’s Integrated Rail Plan. Anticipated later this month, it’s expected to set out the long-term investment plans for the North’s rail upgrades as well as details on how the projects will be delivered.
The North’s leaders agree that now is not the time to scale back on ambition and say the government should commit to the full, transformational vision for both Northern Powerhouse Rail and HS2.
They say both will define the North’s economic future for the rest of this century, boosting jobs and growth.
Transport for the North’s statutory advice includes details of the North’s agreed Northern Powerhouse Rail network, including preferences for a mix of new lines and major upgrades including electrification on the network spanning from Liverpool in the west to Hull in the east.
It includes: a new line to be constructed from Liverpool to Manchester via the centre of Warrington; a new line to be constructed from Manchester to Leeds via the centre of Bradford; and significant upgrades and journey time improvements to the Hope Valley route between Manchester and Sheffield.
It also includes connecting Sheffield to HS2 and on to Leeds; significant upgrades and electrification of the rail lines from Leeds and Sheffield to Hull; and significant upgrades of the East Coast Mainline from Leeds to Newcastle (via York and Darlington) and restoration of the Leamside line.
Northern Powerhouse Rail is a co-cliented project between Transport for the North and the Department for Transport.
Both have worked on drawing up the plans, with the aim of radically improving the North’s ageing rail network, in turn creating thousands of jobs, economic opportunities and helping slash carbon emissions.
Once delivered, the network is predicted to contribute £14.4 billion in annual gross value added (GVA) to the UK economy by 2060.
It is also hoped it will create up to 74,000 new jobs in the North by 2060, and take the equivalent of 58,000 cars off the road.
“This is the culmination of years of work on the original Northern Powerhouse vision to radically connect the North’s communities by rail; create jobs; and boost the Northern economy for decades to come,” said Tim Wood, Northern Powerhouse Rail Director at Transport for the North.
“Communities and businesses want to see certainty on what will be delivered and when, in order to make key investment decisions and create new opportunities.
“We hope that the significant body of evidence, worked up alongside the Department for Transport, will be reflected in an ambitious commitment to investment in the North in the government’s Integrated Rail Plan.
“We can then swiftly press on with joint delivery for the Northern public.
“We’ve done the work together, now let’s get on and deliver for the North together.”
Under the proposed phasing plans for Northern Powerhouse Rail, construction is aimed to begin by the mid-2020s.