Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to the newest version of your browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of Construction News, please enable cookies in your browser.

Welcome to the Construction News site. As we have relaunched, you will have to sign in once now and agree for us to use cookies, so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Northern rail options to be finalised by year end

A major overhaul of the rail network in northern England could be finalised by the end of the year after Transport for the North released its debut annual report on improving the region’s infrastructure.

A project dubbed Northern Powerhouse Rail involving the construction of new lines to link cities including Sheffield and Manchester is at the centre of the plans, unveiled by the Department for Transport yesterday.

In its report, TfN said that projects would be firmed up by the end of the year, with design and development starting by 2017.

The plans also include “substantial upgrade” work on lines between cities such as Leeds and Newcastle and Leeds and Hull.

The recommendations come as part of TfN’s first annual report setting out the priorities for connectivity in the North.

TfN was set up last March as part of the chancellor George Osborne’s plan to devolve power to regions.

A feasibility study is now being carried out by TfN, with preferred options set to be released later this year or in early 2017.

Northern Powerhouse Rail is its marquee rail project and one of the organisation’s four transport priorities set out in yesterday’s report.

A TransPennine road tunnel linking Manchester to Sheffield, the upgrading of east-west roads across the northern Pennines, and improvements to the M60 outside of Manchester have all been put forward by the group as schemes that are crucial to enhancing connectivity across the North.

Northern Powerhouse Rail proposed network

Northern Powerhouse Rail proposed network

Source: Transport for the North

Northern Powerhouse Rail – proposed network

Plans for the northern Pennines upgrades and M60 improvements are expected to be finalised in October, with the route for the £6bn TransPennine tunnel expected to be chosen later in the autumn.

The release of the report comes just days before a National Infrastructure Commission report also looking into northern connectivity is expected to be released ahead of next week’s Budget.

TfN chairman John Cridland said: “Our vision to rebalance the economy will greatly benefit residents of the north and the UK as a whole. Looking to the future we will build on our research, which is underpinned by the first independent economic review for the North, to devise a prioritised investment programme.”

Chancellor George Osborne said: “John Cridland and his team have made enormous progress in the last year and this is a welcome report which shows both the improvements we have already made across the Northern Powerhouse as well as highlighting the potential to go much further.”

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.