The Government has today committed to spend £589m to kickstart work on the Transpennine main line between Leeds, Huddersfield and Manchester.
It will also establish a new transport body in the north of city mayors and key councils to accelerate vital infrastruture projects to better connect the North’s towns and cities.
The Northern Transport Acceleration Council, which will be chaired by Transport Secretary and Northern Powerhouse Minister Grant Shapps, will hold its first meeting in September.
Announcing the push to bring fresh impetus to the Government’s plans for the North, Shapps said that the most congested section of the Transpennine route would be doubled from two to four tracks with most of the line to be electrified.
Full electrification, digital signalling, more multi-tracking and improved freight capacity are now under consideration as part of an ‘Integrated Rail Plan’ due to report in December.
These improvements will allow all-electric services between Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, York and Newcastle, bring longer and more frequent trains.
Improvements to allow more freight on the route, replacing thousands of diesel lorry journeys with electric freight trains, will also be considered in the plan.
Work is also underway to tackle the bottlenecks at either end of the route.
Shapps said: “People across the North rightly expect action, progress and ambition and this government is determined to accelerate improvements as we invest billions to level up the region’s infrastructure.