Jeremy Corbyn has reiterated Labour’s pledge to commit at least £10bn to the proposed Northern Powerhouse Rail project.
Speaking during a day spent visiting cities along the potential route, the Labour leader said building the route would go some way to rebalancing years of under investment in northern rail infrastructure.
Criticising the ‘‘utter disregard’’ the government has for northern commuters, Corbyn met passengers as he travelled from Liverpool Lime Street to Manchester, and then on to Leeds and Hull.
Labour said analysis of the latest Department of Transport figures revealed the proportion of passenger trains arriving on time in the north has dropped from 91.5% in 2010 to 87.8% now. Meanwhile, the number of trains cancelled or significantly late has jumped 50% in the same period and overcrowding has increased 25% on the 10 busiest routes in the region.
Corbyn said: “The rail chaos unleashed by the Tories on the North of England shows their utter disregard for people living in the towns and cities in the North.
“For decades northern communities have received only a fraction of the transport investment that is spent in London and the South East. Labour will put this right by building Crossrail for the North, connecting the great cities of the north of England to unlock huge untapped potential.”
Corbyn’s promise came after news that the government is to impose a 12-month legislative delay on the HS2 project.
The DfT is said to be delaying the Bill for the Manchester to Leeds section of HS2 - known as Phase 2b - until 2020 to accommodate plans for the Northern Powerhouse link.
A DfT spokesperson said: “To maximise the huge potential of HS2, it is important to take full account of the emerging vision for the other transformative project of Northern Powerhouse Rail.
“Phase 2b of the railway will connect the great cities of the North to boost jobs, housing and economic growth, and remains on track to open in 2033.”
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