Warrington Borough Council has welcomed some parts of the Government’s Integrated Rail Plan (IRP) however remains disappointed by changes to HS2 plans and Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR).
The Government’s IRP contains several promises that will transform rail travel in the North of England.
One such promise is the delivery of a new high-speed line between Warrington, Manchester and Marsden as part of NPR.
The IRP will also introduce a fully electrified upgraded line between Liverpool and Warrington as part of NPR.
The proposed plans would bring reduced journey times between Warrington and Yorkshire.
However despite the positive plans put forward in the IRP Warrington Borough Council has reservations over some of the proposals.
The IRP fails to mention plans to provide new lines between Liverpool and Warrington and the council has reservations about the overall proposals across Northern England.
Warrington Borough Council are also unclear on the timescale of the delivery of the schemes promised in the IRP.
Some estimates state that some of the projects in around Warrington will not be completed until the early 2040’s.
Councillor Hans Mundry, Warrington Borough Council Member for Transportation spoke on the mixed feelings felt at the Council around the IRP.
Cllr Mundry said: “It is clear that Warrington has been an important part of considerations in this plan.
“If it is delivered in full we stand to receive a good level of enhanced support and provision.
“We are concerned, though, at the lengthy timescales before we would see delivery of the new line from Warrington to Marsden.
“[We are concerned about] improvements to the route from Liverpool to Warrington.
“Neither of which would be completed until the early 2040s.”
Cllr Mundry has welcomed the Union Connectivity Review considering the case for alternatives to the proposed Golborne Spur.
This will provide faster connections from HS2 services to Scotland.
Despite these positives Cllr Mundry has reservations about how the IRP will fit with the Government’s Levelling Up agenda.
Cllr Mundry added: “We have reservations about the IRP as a whole and where it fits in the Levelling Up agenda.
“Especially when we consider other regions of the North of England that are disappointed with the detail of [the] announcement.
“We will, however, continue to make the case for Warrington as a critical part of future rail infrastructure plans for the region.
“The North cannot continue to ‘make do and mend’”.