Northern newspapers have united to demand the trans-Pennine rail scheme is put before London’s £31bn Crossrail 2.
In an unprecedented display of unity 25 regional newspapers including the Yorkshire Post, the Lancashire Evening Post and the Manchester Evening News joined forces to urge government to put the £3bn trans-Pennine route before Crossrail 2.
It comes amid calls for transport secretary Chris Grayling to resign over the rail chaos caused by timetabling changes.
The £31bn London scheme is already undergoing a finance review after Grayling said London must pay half the cost upfront during construction.
In March Grayling said he expects the trans-Pennine rail route upgrade to start in April 2019.
Together the 25 newspapers urged prime minister Theresa May to “promise that the planned high-speed line across the Pennines – Northern Powerhouse Rail – will take precedence over or equal to the second Crossrail scheme being drawn up in London”.
It follows weeks of rail misery for northern commuters, who have experienced major disruption after the botched introduction of new timetables.
Commons transport committee chair Lilian Greenwood has launched an inquiry into the “terrible disruption” caused by rail timetable changes.
She said: “The Secretary of State has said there have been ‘major failures’ - we want to unpick this mess and understand how it can be prevented from occurring in December, when another timetable change is due.”
Transport for the North chairman John Cridland said the rail chaos had tested the patience of commuters.
He added: ““We stand firmly with passengers across the North – they expect and deserve better.
“We are deeply disappointed that – two weeks in from the timetable change – we are not yet seeing more improvement.”
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