An ambitious 30-year plan to boost road and rail in the North is due to be unveiled.
Transport for the North will set out £2.3bn a year transport and travel improvements.
Among the plans to be outlined in full detail in January are:
- A revised plan for a shorter and cheaper TransPennine road tunnel to Sheffield, starting on the Woodhead Pass.
- Trains travelling up to 125mph between Manchester, Leeds, Hull, Liverpool, Sheffield and Newcastle.
- Seven key rail and road corridors to join up northern cities for business, research and development.
- Contactless smart ticketing.
- Junctions and extra platforms off the high speed railway (HS2) from London at key points like Manchester Piccadilly and Leeds, so passengers can transfer to other stations.
Transport for the North say they will be working with HS2 to ensure that the following requirements are recognised in the HS2 Phase 2b plans:
- Junctions in the Leeds area, enabling trains from Manchester, Sheffield and the Midlands to travel via Leeds and on to York, Teesside and the North East.
- Junctions at Manchester Piccadilly which, combined with a range of other interventions, would enable services from Manchester Airport and Liverpool to use either an underground Northern Powerhouse Rail through station or a surface turn-back station to continue east towards Leeds and the North East.
TftN documents do not yet reveal specific plans affecting Huddersfield, but do allude to improving freight times by “ensuring that there is a fast trans-Pennine path via Huddersfield available every hour for freight, which would reduce the journey time compared to a freight path routed via the Calder Valley line.”
An improved Manchester to Leeds route has three options: link via Sheffield; via the Calder Valley or via Diggle with a potential stop at Bradford/Huddersfield.
They also want a line speed along the TransPennine route to facilitate a 40 minute Leeds – Manchester Victoria journey time with one intermediate stop.
John Cridland, TftN chairman, said: “Our plans would revolutionise travel around the North, particularly East–West links which have previously not received enough attention, and, by extension, will improve how the region does business.
“For decades, the North has under performed compared to the rest of England. Robust evidence shows that investing in quality infrastructure, as well as in other important areas such as education, skills development and research, could lead to more than 850,000 additional jobs in the North by 2050 and £100bn additional gross value added.”
Council and business leaders from across the north have agreed a draft Strategic Transport Plan which will be published in January and subject to public consultation.
The cost of the 30-year plan is estimated to be less than £150 per northern citizen per year, or £2-2.3 billion per year.