Prime minister Boris Johnson has confirmed the government will fund a new high speed, trans-Pennine rail line between Manchester and Leeds
According to the AJ’s sister title New Civil Engineer, this will be an entirely new high speed rail line, separate from Network Rail’s £3 billion trans-Pennine route upgrade.
The funding announced will deliver part of the £39 billion Northern Powerhouse Rail plan, which consists of several lines, going between Liverpool, Newcastle, Sheffield and Hull. The Manchester to Leeds line sits in the scheme’s geographical middle.
In a speech in Manchester on Saturday (27 July), Johnson said: ’I want to be the PM who does with Northern Powerhouse Rail what we did with Crossrail in London.
’And today I am going to deliver on my commitment to that vision with a pledge to fund the Leeds to Manchester route.
’It will be up to local people and us to come to an agreement on the exact proposal they want – but I have tasked officials to accelerate their work on these plans so that we are ready to do a deal in the autumn.’
Johnson said the aim is to drive up productivity across the UK. The route, part of Northern Powerhouse Rail, will have detailed plans laid out this autumn, following the review into High Speed 2.
Transport for the North chief executive Barry White said: ’The fact that the Prime Minister has today firmly committed to delivering a Northern Powerhouse Rail network is a major leap forward for the North. One our business and political leaders have been working tirelessly to secure for several years.
’Just days into his premiership, Boris Johnson is here in the North promising to invest in our creaking infrastructure. Not just the Manchester to Leeds line, but a whole network from Liverpool to Hull, and from Sheffield up to Newcastle, connecting the towns and cities in between.
’As Transport for the North, we’ll work with the new government to make that a reality as quickly as we can. Any agreement later this year must include funding commitments for work on the whole network, including new lines and significant upgrades, and it must be made jointly with the North, as Boris Johnson promised.’