The North of England train services are planned to receive triple the intended investment after the government and transportation secretary Grant Shapps details a £96bn integrated rail plan, set to revolutionise the services.
In recent years, hopes of an integrated rail plan that would produce both faster and more stable journeys came from the long awaited, yet far off, HS2. With an estimated journey to London in around 62 minutes, residents of Northern cities such as Manchester have been rallying for the development of the approximate £98bn HS2 investment to quicken. However, with an estimated completion date of between 2029 and2033, hopes for this decade’s transportation services has become dire.
This was, though, until the government and Grant Shapps detailed a £96bn integrated rail plan, with a completion date of 2025.
Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary has said, “This is the single biggest investment any government has ever made in Britain’s railways. It’s right up there and probably beyond what the Victorians were doing,”
This rail plan promises to improve the TransPenine route. Unfortunately, this came alongside the news that major components of the HS2 railway, specifically the eastern leg of HS2 to Leeds and east-west linking from Manchester to Leeds, would be cancelled.
At first this may seem like a disappointment, however, the newly planned integrated investment promises two extra trains every hour between Manchester and York, as well as a 40% in train times.
Previously, a train from Leeds to Manchester would take 1 hour without disruption, but the investment plans to cut this journey to 30 minutes.
Shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh commented that the people of Northern Cities, including Manchester, are disappointed and “a decade of broken promises” has disrupted the northern economies.
These comments are in contrast to Shapps as he explains that these new Northern investments not only exercise in uplifting the North, but the country as a whole, “So for the first time ever, we’re seeing greater expenditure in the north. That’s a real reverse of the previous situation and it’s all part of our plan to level up the whole country.”
In the coming months, it is expected that almost £1bn of the total investment will be released to progress the next phase, which includes electrification of the railway line between Stalybridge and Manchester- which will incorporate full digital signalling and extra tracks.
Investment in transportation around northern cities opens up the opportunity for the North become the powerhouse it is described as. By the completion date of 2025, the long awaited HS2 service will only be a couple years from completion itself, making travel around the country easier than ever before.