Thank you for contacting me about rail investment in the north.
I have been assured by Ministers that they are committed to ensuring every part of Britain benefits from investment in the railways. To this end, the Government’s investment in railway infrastructure through Network Rail’s Great North Rail Project will stimulate economic growth through better connections between towns and cities in the North. It will enable hundreds more trains to run each day, with more seats and faster services. Projects underway as part of the Great North Rail Project include electrifying key routes across the north west, connecting Manchester’s three stations with the new Ordsall chord and developing plans for upgrading the Transpennine route between Manchester and Leeds and York.
Manchester and Leeds will also both benefit from the £55.7bn HS2 railway when it opens in 2026. By 2033 there will be up to 18 trains an hour running in each direction on HS2, carrying up to 1,100 passengers each.
Further to this, the current Northern and TransPennine Express franchises are set to help bring the Northern Powerhouse to life, with 500 brand-new modern carriages, room for 40,000 more passengers, 2,000 extra services a week and a host of improvements. This will provide the biggest transformation to rail journeys in the north of England in decades, with the operators overseeing a massive £1.2 billion investment. This will help to rebalance the economy, creating jobs, opportunity and growth, and providing significantly better journeys across the region.
The Department for Transport is also working closely with Transport for the North on Northern Powerhouse Rail, which aims to provide faster and more frequent rail services across the region. The Government has committed £60 million to developing the scheme and is working with Transport for the North on potential route options and their costs and benefits. This analysis is due to be completed by the end of 2017.
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