Plans for Northern Powerhouse Rail have been backed by businesses across the North of England.
The largest transport intervention since the Industrial Revolution, business leaders in the North have agreed to move forward with proposals that will see up to £39 billion spent in a modern rail network.
The leaders are calling on the government to back the project, and the statutory advice issued by Northern Powerhouse Rail to the government include signalling full commitment to the project, ensuring long-term investment is assigned in the next spending review.
The concepts outlined are part of the Strategic Transport Plan (STP) that have been unveiled by Transport for the North, which is a blueprint for investment in the North.
Tim Wood is the Northern Powerhouse Rail Director for TfN.
He said the vision provides “viable options” to the transport challenges that exist in the region.
He said: “Our leaders had a vision to connect the North by rail like never before.
“We are a step closer to making that a reality. In Northern Powerhouse Rail, we have turned ambition and passion into a robust evidence base for investment of up to £39 billion.
“It provides viable options and solutions to the North’s rail challenges.
“For too long, passengers and businesses have been held back by slower than average train speeds and poor connectivity between our city regions.
“If we’re going to re-balance the UK’s economy, this needs to be tackled head on.
“There’s no let up. While the government considers this case, we will begin the more in-depth design and feasibility work that will take us closer to a final preferred network.
“If we get the right level of support and investment, the aim is to begin construction in 2024.”
This will see the likes of electrification, and technology like contactless and smart ticketing used in a more widespread manner in the area.