Northern Powerhouse Rail recommendations given to UK government
The Northern Powerhouse Rail network spans from Liverpool to Hull, Sheffield and the North East, and would begin construction in 2024/25.
Tim Wood, Northern Powerhouse Rail Director
Northern leaders have agreed an initial preferred way forward for a new railway network that will transform the region’s economy.
Following a Transport for the North meeting, elected mayors, council and business leaders have recommended that the UK government commits to Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) – a network of new and significantly upgraded rail lines for the North of England – including their initial route preferences.
They say securing funding and commitment for the project is a critical component of the UK government’s desire to ‘level up’ economic performance of the North with the rest of the country.
The network spans from Liverpool to Hull, Sheffield and the North East, and would begin construction in 2024/25. It also links fully with HS2, with shared track, stations and junctions in parts.
This initial preferred way forward will now be sent to the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, with further decisions set for January 2021 and work continuing jointly with the Department for Transport (DfT) on an updated business case to be submitted in spring 2021.
“With the need to build back better following the COVID-19 pandemic, delivery of long-term, job-creating infrastructure projects like Northern Powerhouse Rail need to be a critical component of the agenda,” commented Tim Wood, Northern Powerhouse Rail Director.
“The preferred network would be transformational for the North’s economy and allow Northern workers access to enhanced opportunities through a wider jobs market. 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.”
The proposed NPR 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
- Significant upgrades and journey time improvements to the Hope Valley route between Manchester and Sheffield
- Connecting Sheffield to HS2 and on to Leeds
- Significant upgrades and electrification of the rail lines from Leeds and Sheffield to Hull
- Significant upgrades of the East Coast Mainline from Leeds to Newcastle (via York and Darlington) and restoration of the Leamside line.
The move comes ahead of the much-anticipated publication of a new report that will set out long-term investment plans for rail upgrades in the North. The Government’s Integrated Rail Plan – due to be published by the end of 2020 – 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.