18 November 2021

What are the rail plans and why the angry response?

18 November 2021

New rail plans for the North have sparked an angry response from MPs and civic leaders.

Here the PA news agency answers 10 key questions about what has been announced.

-What is this all about?

Updated plans for HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) have been announced by the Government in its Integrated Rail Plan.

-What is happening with HS2?

It was planned to be extended from Birmingham to Leeds, but will now only run to an East Midlands Parkway station around six miles south-east of Nottingham.

-What impact will the decision have?

Journey times between London and Leeds will be 32 minutes longer than previously planned.

(PA Graphics) (PA Graphics)

-What is Northern Powerhouse Rail?

It is a term used to describe the ambition to improve rail connections between Liverpool and Leeds.

-What was supposed to happen?

Transport for the North, which advises the Government on the region’s transport needs, recommended that new lines should be built between the cities.

-What has the Government decided to do?

A new line will be built between Warrington, Cheshire, and Marsden, West Yorkshire, but the rest of the route will only see existing lines being improved.

(PA Graphics) (PA Graphics)

-What else is happening?

The Midlands Main Line, the Transpennine route and the East Coast Main Line will be upgraded.

There is also £200 million of funding to start work on a new mass transit system in Leeds, which could result in a tram network being built.

– How much will this all cost?

The Department for Transport said the total investment will cost £96 billion.

-Why has the Government made these decisions?

The Government insists the Integrated Rail Plan will deliver similar or even greater benefits than previously planned, and it will do so quicker and cheaper.

-What has been the reaction to this?

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer accused Boris Johnson of having “let down everybody in the North”, adding that the region “has been betrayed”.

Louise Gittins, interim chairwoman of Transport for the North, described the announcement as “woefully inadequate”.

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