The organisation, which is tasked with driving economic growth in the North, has thrown its weight behind the calls of Andy Burnham and other civic figureheads for the government to see through in full its commitment to strategic rail improvements in the region.
David Brown, chief executive of Transport for the North, said: “It is vital that the North get the outputs which were originally committed from the Transennine route upgrade and the Northern Hub, which included increased capacity and journey time improvements.
“Full delivery of these outputs is the baseline upon which we are planning the Northern Powerhouse Rail network. Any changes to the TransPennine route upgrade and the Northern Hub need to be both evidence-based and complimentary to longer term Northern Powerhouse Rail aspirations.”
Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, has been prominent on national news in reacting to comments by Secretary of State Chris Grayling that full electrification of the key Manchester-Leeds route might not take place, and that the Northern Hub improvements at Manchester Piccadilly could also be in doubt.
Figures including Liverpool city region mayor Steve Rotheram and the leaders of Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle city councils joined him in a statement denouncing any backsliding on government spending. The group is to meet before Parliament returns in September to formulate strategy.
Transport for the North, which is to become a statutory body, said it is continuing to develop its strategic transport plan and make the case for investment in the northern transport network, to deliver transformational connectivity and economic benefits, as set out in the Northern Powerhouse Independent Economic Review.