Transport for the North pitches for new rail lines

Transport for the North has formulated its pitch to the transport secretary for what it calls the ‘northern powerhouse rail’ project.

Following a Transport for the North meeting on 19th November, elected mayors, council and business leaders have recommended the government commits to their plan for northern powerhouse rail (NPR).

The documents sets out a list of new and upgraded rail lines for the North of England, including initial route preferences.

The network spans from Liverpool to Hull, Sheffield and the northeast, also linking with HS2. If money is forthcoming, construction could begin in 2024/5, they say.

The proposed network 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

– Upgrades to the Hope Valley route between Manchester and Sheffield

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– Connecting Sheffield to HS2 and on to Leeds

– Upgrades and electrification of the rail lines from Hull to Leeds and Sheffield

– Upgrades of the East Coast Mainline between Leeds and Newcastle (via York and Darlington) and restoration of the Leamside line

Transport for the North has also agreed an initial phasing plan for the network, which includes starting construction on schemes from 2024/5 and working at pace towards construction for the new build lines.

The network is part of Transport for the North’s 30-year strategic transport plan, aimed at securing a sustained pipeline of infrastructure investment in the north.

The government is expected to publish its own integrated rail plan by the end of this year. It is expected to recommend how investment in rail projects like northern powerhouse rail, HS2 Phase 2b, and the TransPennine route upgrade (a separate project) will be delivered.

Tim Wood, director of the NPR project, said: “This is a significant moment for northern powerhouse rail. We have an initial preferred way forward for a rail network that will deliver thousands of jobs, cut carbon emissions and slash journey times between the north’s towns, cities and beyond.

“We’ll now enter discussions with government and look at ways in which the number of remaining options can be further shortlisted and delivery accelerated for the sake of the north’s communities and future.”

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