TransPennine Express
The TransPennine Express operates services between the North West and North East of England

Burnham says £589m rail boost ‘not enough’

Dan Whelan

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”.


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Key issue is will this help move freight out of Liverpool docks ….so removing thousands of lorries from the roads …..and boosting the ability of the north to import and export goods efficiently

By George

Bandwagon Burnham doing his bit for Manchester.

No HS2 for Liverpool, and it’s deliberate.

By Michael McDonut

No matter how much it would ever be enough. Politicking at its best.

By Scales of fairness.

And where is any money for Liverpool another big Northern city?

By Anonymous

Not sure why the government is announcing a new “Northern Council” run by Department for Transport when we already have Transport for the North. Surely they should be devolving more power to TfN, rather than taking back to a DfT organisation

By Mancunian

Vital that the rail links to and from Liverpool docks are improved to take thousands of lorries off the road and allow the north and midlands to both import and export efficiently

By George

Burnham is actually quite positive about the announcement as per the BBC news item – as long as they carry through of course.

The moves by government to snatch back control from local bodies and centralise the delivery is worrying however.

The improvements will also help improve journey times and capacity across the north. They neglect to understand that the railway is a system. If you have downstream bottlenecks you can’t possibly hope to improve capacity locally.

By Ken

I think Home Counties civil servants should rule our lives, before transferring to well-paid jobs in the firms they favor. This democratic control idea is part of a Communist conspiracy. Democracy and local control of our lives is so un-English.

By James Yates

Is the LCR Metro Mayor actually in these discussions? Is he being sidelined or just being silent?

By LEighteen

It’s a start but high-speed trains from Liverpool to Newcastle via Manchester, Leeds with links to Sheffield and Hull is the minimum we should expect.

By Monty

The trains from Wigan should be a priority. Liverpool is of comparable place to Wigan but once again we’re overlooked.

By Global Warming

THE most important future rail network link for the UK, is “HS3”, the link across the north from Liverpool. This is NOT a Liverpool plug, it’s a plug for Leeds, Sheffield, Newcastle, Birmingham and further. It’s a no-brainer; but it’s clear that London will not permit the rest of the country to prosper. government only interested in their friends at the banks and hedge funds.

By Billy

Link to Port of Liverpool is vital for the country and HS3 right across the North is the only way to achieve this. The country must now face West – Liverpool is the most central port for the whole country.

By Red Squirrel.

I live in Manchester and often go to Leeds, I drive because it’s cheaper and much nicer, there’s no advantage to me in getting the train

By Fred

Five years ago £15 Billion was spent on one underground line for one city – London. We have been promised transport upgrades for years and what do we get – Half a Billion. This does include the Scottish Cities and the North East Cities nor Liverpool. The HS2 should have started in Scotland and worked down to the rest of the ten major cities it was supposed to serve. Oh no – London first then what is left for all the other cities. Five times per capita head is spent on The South East in comparison to the rest of the country. The only way folks in the Midlands and North will ever get a proportionate share of investment is if we have our own regional government reflecting regional input into the economy. We are duped constantly and only massive change in political structuring will balance fairness in this country – there is only one industry or institution that has not moved forward in the last 400 years – IT IS CALLED POLITICS.

By Alan Y

Something better change !

By Hugh Cornwell