Burnham says £589m rail boost ‘not enough’

The Greater Manchester Mayor welcomed a Government pledge to fund the upgrade and electrification of the TransPennine main line between Manchester, Leeds and Huddersfield in Yorkshire, but said it would not solve all of the North’s transport woes. 

Andy Burnham said: “The additional funding for the Transpennine route upgrade is a sign of intent from the government. This feels like a gear change in the delivery of transport improvements in the North of England. 

“But upgrading the existing railway between Manchester and Leeds does not diminish the need for a new line as part of Northern Powerhouse Rail, nor does it solve the capacity issues in central Manchester, which require a separate solution.” 

The proposed electrifying of the Transpennine railway served by First Group’s TransPennine Express would allow all-electric services to run between Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, York and Newcastle, improving west-to-east connectivity across the North of England. 

The Department for Transport announced the funding on Wednesday, with the upgrade package also intended to upgrade the number of available tracks on the busiest part of the Transpennine route to reduce delays.

Burnham Press Conference 10 June

Burnham welcomed the funding but said more needed to be done

Work is already under way to tackle blockages at either end of the route, following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s pledge to unplug the central Manchester bottleneck. 

Additionally, the DfT announced the formation of the Northern Transport Acceleration Council, a body that will work alongside the department and push through infrastructure and connectivity projects in the North. 

Burnham said: “People here deserve a modern, reliable public transport system and it is my hope that the Northern Transport Acceleration Council will bring forward the day when that becomes a reality. 

He said his main priority was to build a ‘London-style, integrated public transport system’ in Greater Manchester, and intends to work with the secretary of state for transport on “achieving this vision”.


Your Comments

Read our comments policy

The upgrade between Leeds and Huddersfield is going to destroy the economy in West Yorkshire & Manchester the reason being that people will not for however long it takes ? Maybe 1 year /2 years will not have the facility to travel , the A ? between Dewsbury & Huddersfield is one of the busiest roads in West Yorkshire , on a normal weekday travelling time to Huddersfield could b anything up to an hour plus the time from Leeds to Dewsbury & transfer time to a bus could make the journey to Manchester maybe 2 hours . This is not acceptable, for the sake of increasing the speed of trains between Dewsbury & Huddersfield . What we want is a scheduled service that runs not a service where every other train is cancelled.
I was part of North Western trains Manchester Victoria when against advise reduced the length of platforms and trains , in effect people with know practical experience thought we could run trains like buses n the roads ( tailgating) unfortunately that isn’t the case with train. What we need over the Pennines is logger platforms to accommodate longer trains hence there will b no nescessity for trains every 15 mins over the Pennines

By Barry Laycock

From memory the % of the Manchester employment where people commute from Leeds and vice versa is very low for two cities of their size and commercial importance that are so close. That’s why the line needs upgrading, it’s to better merge their labour markets, and it needs 4 tracking on the Yorkshire side to create room for local services and some redundancy, so I don’t see how it destroys the economies of two cities that aren’t well integrated. Given how terrible this government is on Northern infrastructure we should count our blessings this still going ahead. I think the electrified piece from Stalybridge to Victoria is slated to form part of GM rail, you can see it having through running to Wigan and beyond.

By Rich X

Destroy the economy of West Yorkshire and Manchester? I think you’ve slightly over exaggerated the importance of this Barry!

By Anonymous

Despite the many arguments for railway travel (in particular city center-to-city center) I still think cars and buses serve everybody better (especially if electric and slower (20 mph) through towns. Sorry everybody.

By James Yates

Related Articles

Sign up to receive the Place Daily Briefing

Join more than 13,000 property professionals and receive your free daily round-up of built environment news direct to your inbox


Join more than 13,000 property professionals and sign up to receive your free daily round-up of built environment news direct to your inbox.

By subscribing, you are agreeing to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

"*" indicates required fields

Your Job Field*
Other regional Publications - select below