Transport for the North (TfN) today called on the government to back its plans for major improvements to the north’s rail network. The plans include major upgrades to the East Coast Main Line between Leeds and Newcastle via York and Darlington, connecting HS2 to Sheffield and Leeds and restoring the Leamside line in County Durham.
Today’s call comes ahead of publication of the government’s Integrated Rail Plan, anticipated this month, which is expected to set out the long-term investment plans for the north’s rail upgrades as well as details on how the projects will be delivered.
TfN predicts that the improved northern rail network will create 74,000 jobs and add £14.4bn to the economy by 2060 and take the equivalent of 58,000 cars off the road.
The north’s leaders have sought assurances that they will continue to have full joint leadership role in the programme, alongside the Department for Transport.
Councillor Carl Marshall, Durham County Council’s representative on TfN said: ‘Increased investment in northern rail services has been badly needed for some time and we are calling on the government to commit to creating new lines and carrying out major upgrades which will have a transformative effect on the north’s economy.
‘This will provide enhanced connectivity, capacity and frequency, improving journeys for passengers and transport links for the region’s businesses. As well as creating thousands of jobs, the preferred plan will also greatly reduce carbon emissions. Transport for the North should be at the forefront of this change, making sure that the North’s rail connectivity stays on track for a better future.’