Ministers hail £96bn revamp to boost travel links in the north.. but £56bn already earmarked for HS2

Ministers hail 96bn revamp to boost travel links in the


The £40bn rail revolution: Ministers hail £96bn revamp to boost travel links in the north… but £56bn of it is already earmarked for HS2

  • Rail investment package of £96 billion set to be announced by Boris Johnson
  • Prime Minister hails it the biggest transport investment programme in a century 
  • Revised plans focus on line upgrades to cut journey times in North and Midlands
  • Labour’s transport spokesman Jim McMahon describes plans as ‘laughable’ 










A rail investment package of £96billion is to be announced today to boost travel links across the North.

Boris Johnson hailed it as the biggest transport investment programme in a century and said no town or city would be left behind.

However only £40billion is new funding because the package includes most of the cost of HS2 from London to Crewe – money already announced.

It is also much less than would have been spent had the Government gone ahead with its original plans.

Unveiling the plan today, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is expected to confirm that the HS3 line linking Manchester and Leeds is being ditched.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson has hailed the £96billion package as the biggest transport investment programme in a century

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has hailed the £96billion package as the biggest transport investment programme in a century

Britain's Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is expected to confirm that the HS3 line linking Manchester and Leeds is being ditched

Britain’s Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is expected to confirm that the HS3 line linking Manchester and Leeds is being ditched

And the eastern leg of HS2 linking Birmingham to Nottingham, Sheffield and Leeds will also be axed.

Henri Murison of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership said: ‘We won’t be hoodwinked into believing we’re getting £96billion for a transport revolution in the North. 

Phase 1 of HS2 accounts for half of that and only goes as far as Birmingham. In addition, half the HS2 budget on the eastern leg has disappeared altogether.’

The revised plans will focus on upgrading existing lines to cut journey times in the North and Midlands, with some new track laid.

The National Infrastructure Commission last year proposed scaling back HS2’s eastern leg in favour of improving east-west links. 

A second report – the Oakervee Review –also raised questions about the best way to deliver improved rail connectivity.

The Government last night insisted journey times would be ‘the same, similar to or faster’ than the original HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail plans.

One of the two tunnelling machines at the south portal HS2 align compound, in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire. The Government has said journey times would be ‘the same, similar to or faster’ than the original HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail plans

One of the two tunnelling machines at the south portal HS2 align compound, in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire. The Government has said journey times would be ‘the same, similar to or faster’ than the original HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail plans

It said better east-west connections between major cities in the North and Midlands would also be achieved up to ten years sooner. 

Mr Johnson said: ‘If we are to see levelling up in action now, we must rapidly transform the services that matter to people most.

‘That’s why the integrated rail plan will be the biggest transport investment programme in a century, delivering meaningful transport connections for more passengers across the country, more quickly – with both high-speed journeys and better local services, it will ensure no town or city is left behind.’

Journey times between Manchester and Leeds could still be cut to about half an hour from 50 minutes. 

The original plans would have cut them to about 25 minutes. Ministers also say travel times from Birmingham to Nottingham will be cut from 72 minutes to 27, and Birmingham to Manchester from 90 to 40 minutes.

But figures drawn up by the National Infrastructure Commission suggest much less capacity will be created. 

Space for up to around 21,000 extra commuters into Leeds will be created under the plans, compared with up to 42,000 originally. Bradford will see a similar drop in capacity

Labour’s transport spokesman Jim McMahon said: ‘It’s laughable that the Government expects people in the North to be grateful for some half-baked and repackaged plans, as they attempt to quietly back out of promises made on the vital major infrastructure projects those communities need so badly.

‘Failure to deliver on HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail – schemes ministers have committed to dozens of times – is not only insulting, it is actively holding back investment and opportunity that could benefit millions.’



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