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Transport for the North joint submission to the Integrated Rail Plan

In a collaborative submission to the Integrated Rail Plan, Transport for the North’s Members have called for a sustained investment in the North’s rail network through a pledge to “quick win” projects and high-speed links.

The region’s political and business leaders have called for a phased 20-year pipeline of rail investment that would support the North’s economic recovery from the Covid-19 crisis and unlock upcoming potential.  

Leaders have also requested a strong and coordinated investment plan, committed funding and a role in deciding and delivering the schemes.

Transport for the North is putting forward the idea that the North not only needs significant projects such as Northern Powerhouse Rail and HS2 to be finished in full, but also local and regional improvements to the current congested rail network to unlock freight and passenger capacity in the shorter term.

It comes as part of the North’s first submission to the National Infrastructure Commission, the body tasked with providing evidence to support the Government in developing an Integrated Rail Plan for the North and Midlands, announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier this year.

Transport for the North says that only by having a clear Northern infrastructure pipeline of both road and rail schemes spanning the coming decades can the North’s infrastructure truly be “levelled-up.”

They have also stated that such a plan would create job opportunities, reduce the reliance on cars, help slash carbon emissions and tackle a predicted post-COVID-19 economic shock.

This forms part of the “Northern Budget” ask set out by Transport for the North in summer 2019, which calls for commitment to £39 billion for the full Northern Powerhouse Rail route, £3bn to support the development and delivery of this work and a £7bn northern infrastructure pipeline of road and rail projects.

Transport for the North’s Chief Executive, Barry White, said: “We’ve strongly welcomed the Government’s passion for infrastructure investment in the North, and commitment to projects like HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail. It’s an agenda the North set. But there’s no point in doing it piecemeal. Now, more than ever, the North needs certainty on what rail schemes will happen and when, so that passengers and businesses can benefit as soon as possible.

“We need an integrated and sustained 20-year pipeline of investment in our rail network. It’ll be a vital weapon to combat the COVID-19 economic shock and to secure a greener future. Better rail infrastructure could get people and the economy moving and, in the long-term, support a period of growth that creates more opportunities.

“We’ve been clear that tackling rail problems in the here and now – by committing to projects around some of the congested parts of the North’s network – need to be considered by the Government and then progressed at pace. But we also need to explore how to speed up delivery of key parts of HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail in the North to ensure people aren’t waiting decades for change. We must deliver on the well-worn promise that change is coming down the track.

 “Our Members are clear on what interventions are needed, and that – as a formidable joint voice for the North – they should have a strong role in the decisions and the delivery of such rail schemes. The North is speaking with one voice through this evidence-based submission, and we stand ready to work together with Government through the next steps.”

To read the letter to the National Infastructure Comission click here. 


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