UK: £60bn transport plan announced for the North

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An integrated transport plan for northern England, which includes proposals for a Northern Powerhouse Rail network, is to be submitted to the government next year.

Transport for the North (TfN) announced today (December 15) that a draft Strategic Transport Plan has now been drawn up and will be published as part of a public consultation process in the new year.

The authority said a strategic outline business case for the Northern Powerhouse Rail network will be submitted to the Secretary of State for Transport by the end of next year.

According to TfN, Northern Powerhouse Rail will boost east-west rail connectivity and include elements that will improve links with HS2.

TfN estimates that the 30-year plan will cost between £2-2.3 billion per year (£60-69 billion) – the equivalent of around £150 per northern citizen.

The figure is around £700-900 million per year more than is already expected to be spent on the North’s transport infrastructure.

John Cridland, TfN chairman, said: “Transport for the North’s vision is of a thriving North of England, where modern transport connections drive economic growth and support an excellent quality of life.

“Our plans would revolutionise travel around the North, particularly east–west links which have previously not received enough attention, and, by extension, will improve how the region does business.”

What is Northern Powerhouse Rail?

Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) has been described as a strategic rail programme which will improve connectivity between the North’s major economic centres.

One of the main aims is to increase service frequencies and reduce journey times between major cities.

TfN is working with the Department for Transport, HS2 and Network Rail to assess options for NPR corridors.

TfN has said the NPR network will likely be made up of a combination of new and upgraded rail infrastructure.