Andy Burnham marks northern rail plan as ‘Championship option when we needed Premier League’


Andy Burnham is due to give his reaction to the government’s discount rail plan in the North at a press conference this afternoon.

It comes after plans for the high-speed train to and across northern England were finally announced this morning, after feverish speculation it would deliver a discounted version of the original plans.

The plan revealed by Grant Shapps responds in part to what the leaders of the North had asked for – but far from it all, by cutting their requested investment in half and replacing much of the new trail initially requested with improvements to existing roads.

Instead of a new 40 mile high-speed line from Manchester to Leeds, a new line is proposed from Warrington to Marsden in Yorkshire, where it will be tacked onto an improved Transpennine route.

READ MORE: What the government’s discount rail plan will mean for Greater Manchester

It is understood that the move slashes by around £ 18bn compared to the preferred £ 36bn plan proposed by Northern leaders, which would have seen a whole new line cross to Leeds via a new railway station. central underground in Bradford.

The government rejected this full proposal, arguing that its value for money was “poor to poor”.

Instead, it offers a mix of the two: a new high-speed track, with existing lines on either side, then modernized. The long-awaited upgrade of the existing Transpennine line – including electrification and changes to allow more freight – will therefore be Northern Powerhouse Rail’s “first phase”, he says, a statement that risks arouse the fury of the leaders of the North.

Overall, the government says the proposed route will cut journey times between Manchester and Leeds to 33 minutes, four minutes shorter than the original plan.

He also says the move will, overall, double capacity between the two cities – and says it will be delivered faster than the plan preferred by northern leaders.


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