Construction of the Northern Powerhouse Rail line could begin as soon as 2020, it has been revealed.
Transport for the North (TfN) is finalising proposals to submit to the government in December. If given the go ahead TfN claims that construction could start in 2020.
Dubbed “Crossrail for the North”, the rail line will connect Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield with a “metro-style” service. The route will also be integrated with High Speed 2 stations and Manchester Airport.
Transport for the North director for Northern Powerhouse Rail Tim Wood said: “Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) is a bold and ambitious plan that will deliver transformational rail improvement at a scale witnessed only once in a lifetime.
“For the North to thrive and grow we need better and more seamless rail connections across the North and to the rest of the UK.
“What we are seeing here is a chance for us to deliver a world class railway for the North, bringing with it massive opportunities for business and the people living here now, and in the future, and bolstering the cities and city regions for decades to come.”
The programme of work is forecast to last 30 years, and when complete TfN claims it will support the creation of more than 850,000 jobs in the North of England by 2050 contributing an extra £100bn to the economy.
There have been pleas for many years to speed up the development of high speed infrastructure in the North of England.
In 2014, HS2 Ltd chairman David Higgins set out his plan to get rapid rail to the region six years earlier than planned, with a hub station at Crewe.
And in 2016 the Institute for Public Policy Research urged ministers to bring forward work on High Speed 3 – as the project to link northern cities was then known – to close the north-south infrastructure spending split.
A government spokesperson said: “The government is committed to developing Northern Powerhouse Rail – we have given TfN £60M to develop proposals for the scheme, alongside £300M to ensure HS2 can accommodate future NPR services.”
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