Northern leaders set out big rail upgrade plan

Aaron Morby 8 months ago
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Northern leaders have agreed ambitious railway investment plans for the region which will now be put to Government to help level up the UK economy.

Tim Wood, Northern Powerhouse Rail Director, puts agreed plan to Government
Tim Wood, Northern Powerhouse Rail Director, puts agreed plan to Government

Elected mayors, council and business leaders have recommended the Government commits to Northern Powerhouse Rail – a network of new and significantly upgraded rail lines for the North of England.

Transport for the North has now agreed an initial phasing plan that would see first construction start from 2024/5, working at pace towards construction for the new build lines.

Proposed NPR network programme


  • A new line from Liverpool to Manchester via the centre of Warrington
  • A new line from Manchester to Leeds via the centre of Bradford
  • Significant upgrades to the Hope Valley route between Manchester and Sheffield
  • Connecting Sheffield to HS2 and on to Leeds
  • Major upgrades and electrification from Leeds and Sheffield to Hull
  • Major upgrades of the East Coast Mainline from Leeds to Newcastle (via York and Darlington) and restoration of the Leamside line

This initial preferred way forward will now be sent to transport secretary Grant Shapps, with further decisions set for January and work continuing jointly with the Department for Transport on an updated business case to be submitted in spring 2021.

The move comes ahead of the much-anticipated publication of a new report that will set out long-term investment plans for rail upgrades in the North.

The Government’s Integrated Rail Plan – due to be published by the end of this year – is expected to recommend how investment in rail projects like Northern Powerhouse Rail, HS2 Phase 2b, and the TransPennine Route Upgrade  – a separate project – will be delivered.

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