Transport for the North (TfN) has called on ministers to ensure that a £3bn upgrade of the Transpennine rail route does not fall short of ‘originally agreed outcomes’.
At a meeting in Sheffield last week, the sub-national transport body's board welcomed the planned spend over the next five years as the first phase of upgrading the line, but warned that upgrades should be environmentally sustainable and not worsen air quality.
The Board called for the designs for the Transpennine Route Upgrade programme to deliver:
- Target journey times of 40 minutes between Leeds and Manchester and 62 minutes between Manchester and York
- Six long distance trains per hour, while allowing for the same frequency of local trains
- Greater capacity through provision for longer trains
- The highest reliability levels of any long-distance service in Britain
- Provision for freight, with the option to transport containers by rail (which is not currently possible)
TfN chairman John Cridland (pictured) said: ‘We are pleased that the Government is showing continued commitment to the Transpennine Route Upgrade, which is a vital component of the Northern Powerhouse, and we look forward to working closely with the Department for Transport and Network Rail as detailed design begins.’
TfN said its Board also ‘emphasised the vital importance of minimising disruption whilst major upgrade works are completed’.
Transport minister Jo Johnson announced at the meeting that, following a request from TfN for a single person to oversee both infrastructure and train operations, Richard George has been appointed, ‘working closely alongside Transport for the North’.
Mr George is currently Global Head of Rail Infrastructure at SNC Lavelin.
Mr Cridland said: ‘Richard George’s appointment is a major step forward for the travelling public of the North and a clear indication that government is listening to the views of Transport for the North.’