Northern Powerhouse Rail: Prime Minister urged to make 'clear commitment' after HS2 U-turn
Plans for a multi-billion rail network that would increase capacity and cut journey times were outlined two years ago in the Government’s Integrated Rail Plan (IRP), which said new passengers would begin travelling on the new high-speed lines in “the early-mid 2040s”.
The Prime Minister said £19.8bn of that money will be invested in northern transport upgrades – as part of a plan known as Network North – but later admitted they were only “illustrative projects that could be funded”.
West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin said the North has “had enough of empty promises”.
“What we need to see now is a clear commitment and guaranteed funding to create a modern, integrated rail network, which includes a new, through station in Bradford city centre, more capacity at Leeds station and a rolling programme of electrification – rather than the ‘illustrative’ patchwork of proposals,” she added.
Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary Louise said the north needs a clear plan for NPR instead of “a last-minute wish list”.
The Department of Transport said it is currently drawing up a business case for Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR), which will set out the route, a budget and a timeline.
According to the Government, it is looking to upgrade and electrify lines across the region, running from Liverpool to Hull, and build a new high-speed line between Warrington and Marsden.
Mr Sunak has also promised to connect Bradford to the NPR network, by building a line which runs into a new station in the city. According to the plan, it will allow passengers to travel from Manchester to Bradford, via Huddersfield, in just 30 minutes.
It comes after the Government decided it will not deliver Transport for the North’s plan for a £43bn NPR network, with new high-speed lines running between Liverpool and Leeds.
Northern leaders claim they need NPR and HS2 to transform their outdated rail network and provide additional capacity.
The original plans for NPR relied on HS2 being built, as services were due to travel on a section of the HS2 line in Manchester.
The Government has said it will provide £12bn to ensure that line is built as it will “allow the delivery of NPR as previously planned”.