Northern rail connectivity plan

A report has been published aimed at improving rail connectivity across the North of England.

Think tank IPPR has produced the work for ‘Transport for the North’ (TfN), a new body of combined authorities.  If adopted, the report could see upgrades to key lines, or even the building of new ones, including top speeds of up to 140mph.  It follows last year’s floating of a high-speed trans-Pennine rail line, now known as HS3.

Other steps might include:

–          Delivering HS2 in the north sooner through Parliamentary Bill changes

–          Simplifying rail fares across the north, by streamlining regulated fares

–          Developing contact-less travel cards for northern cities as well as clearer passenger information

Major improvements to the road network could also follow:

–          Expand M62 to 4 lanes between Leeds and Manchester including ‘smart’ motorway management

–          Upgrade M6 to 4 lanes

–          Improve A1 to provide continuous motorway standard between London and Newcastle

–          Widen M1 to 4 lane running in Yorkshire.

There could also be a review for regional airports affected by the recent devolution of air passenger duty.   TfN will subsequently become a representative body led by an independent chair.

Some observers say the initiative is a pre-election ploy only aimed at winning votes.  Transport, however, continues to be one of the major concerns of many businesses.

The 40-page report can be found online here.