Train travels down tracks

Government publishes Union Connectivity Review to boost UK rail network

The Government has published the Union Connectivity Review with Prime Minister Boris Johnson committing to strengthening transport networks to create a more connected United Kingdom.

The publication of Sir Peter Hendy’s Union Connectivity Review underlines the Government’s commitment to bring UK communities within closer reach of social and economic opportunities.

The Review looks into ways connectivity can be improved across the four nations of the UK.

The review includes the proposal for the creation of UKNET – a strategic transport network stretching across the whole United Kingdom.

The Prime Minister has welcomed the UKNET plan and intends to accept the proposal.

UKNET will assess and map out the key points across the entire UK that are essential to stronger and more direct transport connections.

As a result economic growth and job creation will be boosted.

The opportunity to level up will also be increased by expanding the transport system, creating easier travel for passengers, freight and businesses.

Devolved administrations have been invited to work collaboratively by the UK Government in developing the necessary improvements to union connectivity.

Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association (RIA) spoke on what the proposals in the Review will mean for the rail industry.

Mr Caplan said: “We welcome Sir Peter Hendy’s Union Connectivity Review.

“It is good to see mention of upgrade schemes, such as the West Coast Main Line and North Wales Coast Line electrification.

“As well as improving rail links in Northern Ireland, across the Midlands, and on the East Coast of England.

“All would help increase rail capacity in the UK.

“[This is] vital to providing sustainable transport options for millions of people and also freight in the future and boosting long-term economic growth.

“We will assess how the development of the proposed ‘UKNET’… will work in practice for our members.

“A joined-up, strategic approach to planning UK transport connectivity of course makes sense in principle.

“RIA and our members will now work with partners across the UK on these recommendations.

“We await the Government’s response and hope to see confirmation of funding and scheduling for the upgrades shortly.”

Recommendations for improved connections across the UK include:

  • Scotland: proposals include reducing rail journey times and increasing capacity on the West Coast Main Line, and conducting an assessment of the East Coast road and rail corridor.
  • Northern Ireland: upgrading the key A75 link to improve freight and passenger connectivity.
  • Wales: improvements on the A55, M53 and M56, the South Wales Corridor, improvements to the North Wales Coast Main Line and rail links to the Midlands from Cardiff.

The UK Government will work with the devolved Governments to assess and consider the Union Connectivity Review’s proposals.


TCR Midlands
RTM Mag Cover, Feb/March 23


Investing in the future of Scotland's rainforest

This issue highlights the latest topics within the rail industry, from decarbonising the Midlands, improving rail safety, meeting the future priorities of Scotland's Railway & more!                                                      


View all videos
TransCityRail Banner


South \ 28 09 23
North \ 09 11 23
Mids \ 29 02 24

TransCityRail is a series of regional, interactive and insightful events across the country bringing together leaders, collaborators, problem solvers and innovators in a creative and invigorating way.

This series of events supports and informs the whole of the rail industry and connects suppliers with buyers, specifiers, leaders and decision-makers looking to procure a wide variety of innovative products and services for their region.


Episode 37 - What does the future of transport look like

This episode of Track Talk sees a discussion with Conservative MP for Milton Keynes South Iain Stewart, Chair of the Transport Committee. The focus of this episode revolves around disruptive technologies within the rail sector, specifically the impact that the new, innovative advancements and trends might have across all modes of transport. The Transport Committee are taking proposals from people in the sector who are in the know about innovations that deserve more attention, so we have given them the platform to discuss the process and hear what the committee is looking for. 

More articles...

View all