Government sets out £13 billion transport blueprint for Northern Powerhouse
11 August 2015 • Author: Katie Sadler, Digital Content Producer, European Railway Review
The Department for Transport (DfT) has revealed a £13 billion transport blueprint to support creation of the Northern Powerhouse.
The proposals have been revealed as government ministers visit major infrastructure projects designed to transform the region.
The investment aims to bring cities and regions closer together, strengthening connections and closing the economic gap between North and South. The revealed blueprint demonstrates how transport links across the north are being transformed by government investment.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “This one nation government is determined to close the economic gap between North and South. Investing in transport – something that successive governments have failed to do sufficiently – is vital to making that happen.
“We had a choice – building the infrastructure our country needs, or letting our transport system become a brake on growth and opportunity. We have chosen to invest for the future.
“Across the North, that investment is already having a huge impact, with programmes underway to upgrade our railways and our roads. We are determined to keep the momentum going.”
Commercial Secretary at the Treasury Lord O’Neill added: “Investing in first class transport infrastructure is a key part of our commitment to create a Northern Powerhouse.
“Our investment is helping to better connect the region, building a strong Northern economy, and it is great to see the huge progress already underway.”
On the 11 August Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin will visit a number of key investment projects in the north of England including the Farnworth Tunnel, where major work has started to provide faster and improved journeys between Manchester, Bolton and Preston by the end of 2016. The work involves re-drilling the existing tunnel so that the rail line can be electrified, and faster, greener electric trains can be introduced. The work is part of Network Rail’s North of England programme, an investment of over £1 billion to improve the region’s railways, allowing hundreds more trains to run and providing space for millions more passengers a year.
The blueprint includes some recently completed projects including a new electric train service between Manchester, Liverpool and Wigan. Other improvements include the autumn 2015 opening of the refurbished station at Manchester Victoria, a new southern entrance to Leeds station, the addition of new franchises that will see modern trains and additional capacity on Transpennine services between Leeds and Manchester and the removal of Pacer trains on Northern routes and a scheme to deliver faster trains and better services between Sheffield and London.
The Department for Transport’s blueprint for connecting the Northern Powerhouse can be viewed here.