Northern mayors to launch ‘NPR convention’ to combat HS2 cost-cutting fears

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham and Liverpool city mayor Steve Rotherham have jointly called for the development of a Convention of the North, which would deal with issues surrounding the future of Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR).

The call is driven by fears that the government could limit some options for NPR later in the year when there are meetings on cost-cutting on HS2.

Both mayors have put forward the convention as a way of aligning northern leaders and promoting a unified viewpoint on the future of both HS2 and NPR.

It is proposed that the first Convention of the North will be in late June, alongside the Great Exhibition of the North in Newcastle and Gateshead, which is a season-long celebration of northern culture and identity.

“If we sit back and leave it to old Westminster way of doing things, there is a real risk that north will end up with second-class transport plans and a London-centric Brexit,” Burnham explained.

“Through devolution, we have a real chance of rebalancing this country from south to north. The Convention of the North could give the north a louder voice than it has ever had before and help to get us the right decisions on rail investment, Brexit and further devolution.”

Burnham is set to officially inaugurate the Convention of the North on Tuesday when the NPR campaign is set to be launched in London.

Liverpool mayor Rotheram is also backing the plans and said it was “absolutely vital” that the northern leaders were given autonomy to complete future NPR ambitions.

“It’s about coming together to set and deliver our own priorities and the projects that will have the biggest and most sustainable impacts,” he explained.

“A new west to east rail line starting at a brand-new city centre station in Liverpool and connecting the other great cities of the north via Manchester is the key to unlocking prosperity for communities in every part of the north.”

The news follows last week’s appointment of Tim Wood as Transport for the North’s new NPR director.

Previously Wood has led development and infrastructure projects internationally as director in both the public and private sectors across infrastructure and construction markets, including in major Network Rail supplier Amey.

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Stratfan   27/02/2018 at 12:25

We were told hs2 would heal the north south divide!! Get your act together and stop wasting our money http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/road-and-rail-transport/8668412/HS2-the-fast-track-fix-for-bridging-the-North-South-divide.html

Lee   27/02/2018 at 12:26

“If we sit back and leave it to old Westminster way of doing things, there is a real risk that north will end up with second-class transport plans and a London-centric Brexit,” Burnham explained. As far as I understand things, the old Westminster way is alive and well because TfN have to approach central government for funding for schemes, with contributions from the private sector. Maybe if they had pursued the legal powers to raise their own finances in a similar fashion to TfL, there may not be such a perceived risk of London-centric approach to funding?

Stratfan   27/02/2018 at 15:19

Does anyone have more information on these meetings on cost cutting on hs2?

John   28/02/2018 at 00:17

Crossrail 2 will get built before NPR. Adonis in a speech last Nov admitted that HS2 was a London commuter line. The aim is to get cheaper labour for London from outside - pandering to London financial institutions. A point is that Londoners are then done out of jobs. NPR needs to be designed first as a straight line through west to east Manchester Victoria, then HS2 redesigned to branch into it. At the moment the proposals are a complete joke with the tail wagging the dog.

John   28/02/2018 at 00:19

The announcement is for Liverpool to have new NPR station. Where would it be. It would have to be underground.The best place is between Lime St and Central with access to both.

John   28/02/2018 at 00:24

NPR can used the Manchester Canal. Fill most of it in and leave a narrowboat canal. The track can run into a tunnel for the last half mile or so into Victoria. The Canal is a superb alignment for NPR. No CPOs and little opposition.

MW   28/02/2018 at 09:57

Whilst the upper reaches of the Manchester Ship Canal are not much used nowadays, the lower parts are, but by ships not narrowboats (clue's in the name). So removing a means of bulk transport of goods doesn't seem like the best of ideas.

John   28/02/2018 at 10:31

The Manchester Ship Canal is very busy on the Mersey estuary near Liverpool. Above Runcorn, the bulk of the run of the canal, it is near dead. This section is best being a rail line and a narrowboat canal, as small boats are about the only vessels using it. The alignment is perfect for a high-speed line. Keeping it in its current form is irresponsible.

Nick   28/02/2018 at 11:51

John is spot on: London needs Crossrail 2 and the Northern Powerhouse Rail needs the 'North Crossrail'; HS2 serves neither need and in any case the project is so badly run by HS2 Ltd that increasingly looks like a white elephant, flanked by scandals over conflicts of interest and unauthorised payments. How can anyone have confidence in this project?

John   28/02/2018 at 12:20

@Nick HS2 is not needed at all. Read transport expert Christian Wolmar on HS2. There is no need for London to Birmingham only trains to be on HS2 or the WCML at all. The London to Birmingham Chiltern line from Paddington (or Marylebone) via High Wycombe can use the new Hydrogen Fuel Cell trains, just successfully tested in Germany. Zero Emissions and fast. Uprate the Chiltern line to a very fast line with bottlenecks ironed out and some new track around Birmingham. Diesel trains do operate on this line right now from Marylebone to Birmingham. The Birmingham train did use this track before they moved it to Euston only because the WCML was electrified. The uprated line will also benefit local and regional rail that may use it, giving many benefits. Parts of the Chiltern Line can easily be made into 4 track, and was designed to be. New, fast, tilting Fuel Cell trains could do London-Birmingham in about 40-45 minutes. Not slow at all. Remove the bottlenecks on the ECML and the 170 miles from London to Leeds, using the latest fast trains, can do the journey only a few minutes longer than HS2. Remove the bottlenecks on the WCML and WCML spurs to Liverpool and Manchester and 4 track the 2 track section above Crewe - again very fast times are achievable not short of HS2 times, using the latest signalling and fast tilting trains. The problems with HS2 is that it is a poor design to start with and that new train technology and signalling has made HS2 redundant. The only line that makes sense is the west to east Liverpool to Hull line, HS3 (NPR), using a Pennines base tunnel. NPR crosses the ECML, WCML and the MML also making it a linear hub. NPR should be prioritized. We have had years of bla, bla, bla, and still no solid progress with no firm design offered. NPR should not be a "crossrail". It should be a proper high-speed line. Liverpool to Hull is too long to be a "crossrail".

Lutz   28/02/2018 at 13:52

The biggest obstacle to achieving the aspirations of the NPR is the failure of RailNorth, Northern Councils, and of the proto-TfN to but sufficient meat on the proposals. Perhaps if these two did some really productive work it would be more effective.

Lutz   28/02/2018 at 13:53

@John:- Your spouting puerile dribble.

John   28/02/2018 at 16:17

Lutz, Ad Hom attacks. Which means you have no point and rather poor imagination. A designer sadly you would never be.

Lutz   01/03/2018 at 15:35

'John:- I suggest that you are still at school; you clear do not know your claimed domain of expertise and thus are spouting rubbish and do not have an argument that merits redress.

John   01/03/2018 at 16:33

Lutz, more ad hom attacks proves you lost it. BTW, my school days are now ancient history. Read what I wrote. It all makes perfect sense.

Lutz   01/03/2018 at 21:58

@John:- Only in your fantasy; it bears no relation to fact.

John   02/03/2018 at 12:44

Lutz, grow up!

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