Fury as Northern Powerhouse Rail plan appears prone to be downsized once more

Politicians and rail consultants have reacted furiously to affirmation that a lot of the promised high-speed Northern Powerhouse Rail undertaking throughout the Pennines is to be scrapped as soon as once more.

The 2019 Conservative manifesto pledged: “We will build Northern Powerhouse Rail between Leeds and Manchester and then focus on Liverpool, Tees Valley, Hull, Sheffield and Newcastle.”

In 2021, the then-transport secretary, Grant Shapps, stated the Yorkshire part of Northern Powerhouse Rail wouldn’t be constructed. His “Integrated Rail Plan” additionally ditched the jap leg of HS2 from Birmingham to Leeds.

After Liz Truss changed Boris Johnson as prime minister, she promised to construct the high-speed rail hyperlink throughout the north of England. Ms Truss, who was in workplace for less than 44 days, burdened that plans for a brand new station at Bradford had been resurrected, saying: “It will stop at Bradford. I’m very clear about that.“

But Mr Shapps, who is now the business secretary, told the BBC the project has, once again, been ditched – and that there “wasn’t really much point” within the authentic plan.

Louise Haigh, the shadow transport secretary, tweeted: “Sixty times the Tories promised to level up the North with the rail infrastructure we need to grow our economy.

“While they break their promises, Labour will build the Elizabeth Line for the North we deserve.”

Mr Shapps stated: “Across the Pennines, connecting places like Manchester to Leeds and bringing that journey down to half an hour – which is what we said we would do in that manifesto – is in fact happening already,” he stated.

“The line itself can deliver a 33-minute journey from Manchester to Leeds, nearly quadruple the capacity of that line and do so without having to wait an extra 20 years beyond the delivery of what the upgrade can do.

“There wasn’t really much point in going and blasting new tunnels through the Pennines.”

The present quickest journey time between Manchester and Leeds is 50 minutes.

Nigel Harris, editor in chief of Rail journal, known as Mr Shapps a “world class communicator of utter claptrap”.

The subsequent spherical of national rail strikes begins on Saturday. Members of the RMT union employed by Network Rail will stroll out on 5, 7 and 9 November in a dispute over pay, jobs and dealing circumstances. Staff working for 14 practice operators will cease work on 5 and 9 November.

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