UK Transport Secretary confirms high-speed rail for Northern Powerhouse
2 June 2015 • Author: Katie Sadler, Digital Content Producer, European Railway Review
In a speech made in Leeds on the 1st June, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin outlines the government’s priority for high-speed rail and the Northern Powerhouse.
The newly appointed Transport Secretary confirmed the government’s plans to forge ahead with HS2 linking London to Birmingham and Manchester to Leeds. He confirmed the government is moving forward with plans for east-west high-speed rail links and will invest £13 billion in transforming northern transport this Parliament creating a single economy between northern towns and cities.
In a keynote speech in Leeds, he said that boosting growth in the north, rebalancing the economy and creating a Northern Powerhouse were a vital part of the long-term economic plan.
Commenting on the newly established Transport for the North (TfN) he stated that the body will have a new independent chair to speak on behalf of the north with one voice on delivering improved train and bus services, rolling out smart ticketing, looking after passengers, reducing road congestion and speeding up links to ports and airports.
Patrick McLoughlin revealed an announcement will be made on HS2 phase two from Birmingham to Leeds and to Manchester, later this year. During this Parliament the government plans to make significant strides in getting HS2 to the north sooner.
Building on the concept of High Speed 3 (HS3), the government will also progress plans to transform east to west rail connectivity with high-speed services linking Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Newcastle and Hull.
Patrick McLoughlin said: “HS2 will be built, the full ‘Y’ network, from London to Birmingham and Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds, with construction starting in just two years.
“HS2 will change the transport architecture of the north. But it will also change the economic architecture.”
He added: “We are moving forward with plans for new high-speed rail links, running right across the north, from Liverpool in the west, to Hull in the east. It will slash journey times, provide a substantial boost to capacity and help bind the north together as a single, powerful economic force. We believe in the power of transport to change things.”