Transport for the North has urged Whitehall to back the “future-defining” project, which includes plans for a new line between Manchester and Liverpool.
The transport lobby group said the Government should “commit to the full, transformational vision for both Northern Powerhouse Rail and HS2…that will define the North’s economic future for the rest of this century, boosting jobs and growth”.
Transport for the North has formally lodged its proposals for the project, aimed at levelling up the North and improving east-to-west rail connectivity, having outlined its preferred route last November.
The route would dovetail with High Speed 2, with shared track, stations and junctions in parts, to slash journey times between the cities of the North.
Proposals for Northern Powerhouse Rail, drawn up by Transport for the North and the Department for Transport, include:
- Construction of a line from Liverpool to Manchester via the centre of Warrington
- Construction of a line from Manchester to Leeds via the centre of Bradford
- Significant upgrades and journey time improvements to the Hope Valley route between Manchester and Sheffield
- Connecting Sheffield to HS2 and on to Leeds
- Upgrades and electrification of the rail lines from Leeds and Sheffield to Hull
- Upgrades of the East Coast Mainline from Leeds to Newcastle, via York and Darlington, and restoration of the Leamside line
Once delivered, the network is predicted to contribute £14.4bn to the UK economy by 2060, according to Transport for the North.
Leaders across the North have asked the Government to be ambitious and back the proposals when it publishes its rail investment plan for the region later this month.
The Integrated Rail Plan is expected to set out the long-term investment plans for the North’s rail upgrades as well as details on how the projects will be delivered.
Tim Wood, Northern Powerhouse Rail director at Transport for the North, said: “This is the culmination of years of work on the original Northern Powerhouse vision to radically connect the North’s communities by rail, create jobs, and boost the Northern economy for decades to come.”
He added: “We hope that the significant body of evidence worked up alongside the Department for Transport, will be reflected in an ambitious commitment to investment in the North in the Government’s Integrated Rail Plan.
“We can then swiftly press on with joint delivery for the Northern public. We’ve done the work together, now let’s get on and deliver for the North together.”
A business case for the project is to be submitted after the Government’s Integrated Rail Plan has been published.
Under the proposed phasing plans for Northern Powerhouse Rail, construction is aimed to begin by the mid-2020s.