Northern Powerhouse transport plan unveiled

Aaron Morby 9 years ago

Plans to revolutionise travel in the north, including a multi-billion pound TransNorth rail system and road investments, have been set out in a blueprint to build a Northern Powerhouse.

The Government today published its Northern transport strategy report to deliver faster rail journeys, road investment, travel cards, better airport routes and building the high-speed HS2 route sooner.

Network Rail has costed out several rail improvement options to connect the cities of the north, which highlight eye-popping costs for Government.

New railways connecting Sheffield, Hull, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Newcastle upon Tyne could cost up to £65bn.

Alternative plans to upgrade existing links could cost anywhere from £12.5bn to £23bn.

The Government will pick and mix the individual options to set out a plan. But even the cheapest upgrade starts at £1bn and new lines could be as much as £19bn.

Options for upgrades and new lines

Northern Powerhouse

New routes costing £40bn-£65bn

  • Leeds to Newcastle times of around 50 minutes (compared to a best time of 87 minutes currently): £8.5bn – £14bn – Option 1
  • Sheffield to Manchester times of around 27 minutes (compared to a best time of 48 minutes currently), and Manchester to Leeds in around 30 minutes: £12bn – £19bn – Option 2
  • Manchester to Leeds times of around 30 minutes (compared to a best time of 49 minutes currently): £6.5bn – £10bn – Option 3
  • Liverpool to Manchester times of around 20 minutes (compared to a best time of 32 minutes currently): £8bn – £13bn – Option 4
  • Leeds to Hull times of around 28 minutes (compared to a best time of 55 minutes currently): £5.5bn – £9bn – Option 5

Upgrades and cut-offs costing £12.5bn-£23bn-plus

  • Leeds to Newcastle journey times of around 70 to 80 minutes: £1bn-£4bn – Option 6
  • Sheffield to Manchester times of around 39 minutes: £3bn – £5bn – Option 7
  • Manchester to Leeds times of around 34 minutes: £4.5bn – £7bn – Option 8
  • Liverpool to Manchester times of around 23 minutes: £4bn and £7bn – Option 9
  • Sheffield to Hull times of around 60 minutes (compared to a best time of 86 minutes currently) through upgrading the existing route – Option 10 – or using HS2 into Leeds, combined with the proposed Leeds to Hull improvements

Each of the options has been costed as a stand-alone proposal. When the programme progresses into option selection, the Government says there will be greater opportunities for synergies and economies which could cut initial estimates.

Further reductions could be won by delivering works in tandem with High Speed 2 or Network Rail schemes.

Work on developing these options will be jointly commissioned, including asking HS2 Ltd to take forward the new line options to Liverpool and across the Pennines, as well as the use of the Sheffield to Leeds HS2 line for fast regional services.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said: “Connecting up the great cities of the north is at the heart of our plan to build a northern powerhouse.

“This report has the potential to revolutionise transport in the north and we will work closely with TfN to help make it a reality.

“From backing high speed rail to introducing simpler fares right across the north, our ambitious plans for transport means we will deliver a truly national recovery where every part of the country will share in Britain’s prosperity.”

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