Transport for the North has said it ‘wholeheartedly’ welcomes report from the House of Commons Transport Committee which calls for the government to reassess its plans for rail investment in the North and Midlands.
Transformation of the rail network is at the heart of realising the North’s economic potential, of connecting people to opportunities and making real progress in decarbonising our transport system. As the report says “upgrading lines will bring modest benefits, but not to the transformational extent needed to end regional imbalances.”
Martin Tugwell, Chief Executive of Transport for the North, said: “This report is a vindication of what TfN has been calling for some time. London and the South East has seen vast sums spent on HS1, the first phase of HS2, on the new Elizabeth Line, and the Thameslink upgrade. Meanwhile the North’s ageing and creaking rail network has had little in the way of new infrastructure or expansion of services. And yet the North’s railway has recovered faster and stronger than the rest of the country, a sure sign of not only how important it is to our economy now but of its potential to be the catalyst for further growth.
“Our plans for Northern Powerhouse Rail are fully-costed and have a robust evidence base to underpin them – they will provide a good return on their investment by allowing the North to break free of the constraints that have held back our economy for too long.
“In particular we are very pleased that the committee has asked for the government to reconsider the case for a new station in Bradford. We have long believed that this investment is vital to unlock the potential of this great Northern city, whose people are underserved by their location on a branch line off the Leeds-Manchester route. And we fully support the committee’s call for an underground station at Manchester to be re-examined and to commit to the redevelopment of Leeds Station. Cities like Liverpool, Sheffield, Hull and Newcastle also deserve substantial investment so they are not left behind.
“As the report says it is vital that this once-in-a-generation opportunity is not missed. We look forward to working with the government to build on this report and re-examine the case for transformational investment in the North. We say to the government: We’ve done the work together. Now let’s get on and deliver for the North and Midlands together.”