The Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced that the high-speed train route between Birmingham and Crewe will be delivered by 2027, six years earlier than planned, in line with recommendations by HS2 chairman Sir David Higgins.
The first phase of HS2 from London to Birmingham is due to complete by 2026, with the extension to the North West initially scheduled for 2033.
In October 2014 Higgins published a report naming Crewe as the location for the HS2 Northern hub, rather than Stoke-on-Trent. He also recommended that the high-speed line go through Manchester Airport, and called for a 2027 completion date.
The Government also announced that John Cridland, the former director-general at the Confederation of British Industry, as chairman of Transport for the North.
The appointment comes as Transport for the North works towards the publication in March 2016 of its strategy for transforming the Northern economy through significantly enhanced connectivity between the city regions.
Plans are in place to develop TfN into a statutory body by 2017.
Osborne allocated £50m to support Transport for the North for five years in his Autumn Statement and Spending Review last week.