Joint submission calls for a sustained investment in the North’s rail network


In a letter to the National Infrastructure Commission, Transport for the North’s members have called for a sustained investment in the North’s rail network through a commitment to “quick win” projects and high-speed links.

In their joint submission to the Integrated Rail Plan for the North and Midlands, which was announced by prime minister Boris Johnson earlier this year, TfN says a phased 20-year pipeline of rail investment would support the North’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and unlock future potential.

It says that only by having a clear Northern infrastructure pipeline of both road and rail schemes spanning the coming decades can the North’s infrastructure truly be ‘levelled-up’.

TfN adds such a plan would create job opportunities, reduce the reliance on cars, help slash carbon emissions and tackle a predicted post-COVID-19 economic shock.

This forms part of the “Northern Budget” ask set out by Transport for the North in summer 2019, which calls for commitment to £39 billion for the full Northern Powerhouse Rail route, a £7bn northern infrastructure pipeline of road and rail projects, and £3bn to support the development and delivery of this work.

“We need an integrated and sustained 20-year pipeline of investment in our rail network,” said Barry White, TfN’s chief executive. “It’ll be a vital weapon to combat the COVID-19 economic shock and to secure a greener future. Better rail infrastructure could get people and the economy moving and, in the long-term, support a period of growth that creates more opportunities.

It’s understood the government intended to finalise the Integrated Rail Plan by the end of 2020, with recommendations on the delivery of Northern Powerhouse Rail, HS2 and other planned schemes such as the TransPennine Route Upgrade.

TfN’s letter to Sir John Armitt, chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, can be read here.

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