Following the Department of Transport’s update on plans for an Integrated Rail Plan across the North of England and the Midlands, Transport for the North has called on government to accelerate delivering new rail infrastructure.
The Integrated Rail Plan outlines that assessments of new infrastructure projects will consider value for money, “levelling up”, affordability, deliverability, as well as integration with existing infrastructure, cost reduction and delivery models, governance of schemes and connectivity with Scotland, and these criteria will be used to determine the future of HS2’s phase 2b, from Crewe to Manchester.
Transport for the North argues that while these criteria are important, acting quickly to deliver improved connections in the region was most important.
Barry White, Chief Executive at Transport for the North said:
The North’s economy has struggled for too long in the straitjacket of poor infrastructure and cannot wait any longer before these problems are addressed. It’s positive that the Government has made speeding up the delivery of infrastructure benefits to the North a basic tenet of this rail investment plan. We can’t wait at the back of the queue whilst major schemes progress elsewhere.
“The Integrated Rail Plan will look at how best to dovetail schemes like HS2 and Network Rail’s enhancements, alongside the much-needed Northern Powerhouse Rail. That work must be focused on delivering the maximum economic, social and environmental benefits for the North’s communities. Exploring efficiencies can’t be shorthand for cutting ambition. We also need to ensure that the voice of the North is heard loud and clear in determining how and when this work should take place.
“We’re discussing the next steps with our northern leaders and look forward to working with the Government and National Infrastructure Commission to deliver on the joint goal of unleashing prosperity through infrastructure.
“The sooner we start delivering these improvements, the sooner passengers will get the modern rail services they deserve.”