Details outlining possible options for the proposed Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) have been outlined in Transport for the North’s (TfN) spring 2016 report.
The Northern Transport Strategy spring report provides an update on joint work from TfN and the Department for Transport, including emerging views on the options for the NPR scheme which will look to increase capacity and frequency between Manchester Airport and the largest cities in the region.
The routes outlined as being the “most promising” at this stage include:
- Between Leeds and Manchester and Sheffield and Manchester. TfN has said its work to date has shown the need to go further than committed investments in the existing routes to achieve faster journeys and more frequent services. Therefore, on these routes TfN is developing a range of options, including new lines for the route, or very significant sections of new line
- Between Leeds and Newcastle, and Leeds and Hull substantial work to upgrade the existing line
- Between Manchester, Manchester Airport and Liverpool there is potential to integrate with the planned HS2 infrastructure, including the option of providing a new line.
Feasibility studies into the rail options are expected to be completed by autumn 2016, allowing assessment of the options before the end of the year.
Chancellor George Osborne said: “Improving transport links between the north’s major cities is at the heart of our plans to build a Northern Powerhouse. We created Transport for the North to help identify the priorities to connect up the great cities and towns of the north and to set out a vision to help us transform journeys for hardworking people.
“[TfN chair] John Cridland and his team have made enormous progress in the last year and this is a welcome report which shows both the improvements we have already made across the Northern Powerhouse as well as highlighting the potential to go much further.
Cridland added: “I’m delighted with the progress of our ambitious plans to transform infrastructure in the North of England. Our vision to rebalance the economy will greatly benefit residents of the North and the United Kingdom as a whole. Looking to the future we’ll build on our research, which is underpinned by the first independent economic review for the north, to devise a prioritised investment programme.”