Transport bosses urge politicians to back ambitious rail projects for north of England
Transport bosses have urged politicians and parties campaigning for votes in the general election to back a number of radical infrastructure projects for the north of England.
In an open letter Transport for the North calls on those hoping to sit in the House of Commons after December 13 to give support to the £39bn Northern Powerhouse Rail project and HS2.
Other news: Wigan thief hid beef joints down his tracksuit bottomsThe organisation also wants devolved budgets and a clear pipeline of investment in the north.
The letter said there is "pent-up economic potential" across northern England, which is "waiting to be unleashed with the right impetus and investment".
The letter said: "Today’s gap in productivity will become tomorrow’s opportunities for not only those who call the North home, but the people and business leaders yet to locate here. Not just good for the North but good for all the UK.
"At the heart of this, is the ability to get people and goods from A to B better than they do today. That’s journeys between the North’s towns and cities and to our neighbours in Scotland, Wales, the Midlands and beyond.
"To do this properly, we need Northern Powerhouse Rail and HS2. Delivered together, in lock-step, they’d amount to a rail revolution for the One North economy we set out to achieve in 2015. One our communities have waited for patiently.
"For Northern Powerhouse Rail, this means the most transformational £39 billion network spanning from Liverpool to Hull and Sheffield to Newcastle. A mix of new lines and significant upgrades bringing fast, reliable journeys to our main hubs. Millions of people better connected by rail.
"That should include new lines between Liverpool and Manchester via Warrington and Manchester Airport, and between Manchester and Leeds. Significant upgrades would create turn-up and go services between Sheffield, Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, the wider North East and Hull. All journey times slashed, each station location a chance to ignite regeneration and foster new enterprise.
"We believe any future Government should back this blueprint to improve people’s opportunities and their quality of life.
"For years, the North’s leaders have planned and prepared for HS2’s arrival to both sides of the Pennines. Future city-scapes have been planned around it, whilst the promise of more capacity on the existing network for local stopping services and vital freight movements has been embraced.
"The need for investment is clear. It’s evidenced in the daily slog of today’s rail passengers. Timetabling conundrums, packed trains, passengers left on platforms – a congested network buckling under the strain of its own success. One struggling to cope today, let alone equipped to serve the predicted four-fold increase in passengers between now and 2050."
The letter calls on the government elected next month to prioritise funding for the projects by the mid-2020s, putting much-needed improvements in the north on a fast track towards being solved.
Transport for the North is made up of civic and business leaders across the region.