Cities in the North have come up with their own £15bn plan to revolutionise Britain’s transport system in a report to be presented to Chancellor George Osborne today.
The 15-year investment plan, designed to complement the HS2 proposals, are designed to maximise economic growth across the North, boost transport links and help rebalance the national economy.
The report, One North: A Proposition for an Interconnected North, is the result of an alliance between Newcastle, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Sheffield.
It says the main problem facing the North’s railway system is its “Victorian infrastructure” which they are seeking to put right through calls for massive investment.
It was put together in response to a challenge set out by HS2 chairman, Sir David Higgins in his original report HS2 Plus, and the Chancellor in his Northern Powerhouse speech on June 23.
In it, Mr Osborne said: “The cities of the North together can be greater than the sum of their parts.”
The report’s authors say that, if their proposals were adopted, they could deliver benefits for the whole of the North of England, including up to 150% additional capacity on roads and as much as 55% faster journey times on a faster, more frequent interconnected rail network.
They could also deliver new trains running on a dedicated 125mph trans-Pennine rail-link, a faster route to Newcastle and better access to ports and airports – improving freight and logistics movements across the country and benefiting personal and business travellers.
Newcastle City Council chief executive Pat Ritchie said: “One North is a demonstration that the great Northern cities can work together to shape transport plans which would transform the economic competitiveness of the north - linking people to jobs, goods to customers and our businesses to international markets.
“Ensuring that Newcastle and the North East are part of an integrated approach to transport is essential to delivering our vision for economic growth in the region.”
The report suggests:
* A new trans-Pennine route and a faster route to Newcastle to provide additional capacity and better connectivity for its economy;
* Growing airports and expanding routes in the North, including Newcastle;
* A new rail line using faster trains between Newcastle and the Darlington area designed to save 10 minutes journey time.
* Speeding up and making more reliable services to London from Newcastle on the East Coast mainline before HS2 is completed;
* Have HS2 services extended northwards from Newcastle to Edinburgh;
* New cross city services considered including routes from Newcastle to Northumberland.
Key economic benefits would include the North becoming a destination of choice for investors, connecting businesses with workers and workers with jobs.
They say the plans would also mean higher levels of productivity and competition, a modern, new infrastructure to support trade and industry, complementing the economic benefits of HS2 for the North and ultimately producing a more productive Northern economy – all of which means higher wages, profit and tax receipts for the Exchequer.