Tomorrow, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, alongside Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary, will unveil new plans to modernise rail services in the North and the Midlands.
The UK Government says that passengers will see benefits ten years sooner than under HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail plans.
The new Integrated Rail Plan is the biggest ever investment in the rail network, costing £96bn, and will transform journeys across the East and West Midlands, Yorkshire and the North West.
The IRP will aim to deliver journey times for passengers that are the same as, similar to, or faster than the original HS2 and Leeds – Manchester plans.
The IRP will also double or treble capacity and will ensure passengers see visible changes more quickly.
Full details of the new plan are to be released tomorrow, Thursday 18th November, but they will aim to improve connections between major cities and also improve shorter distance routes that people depend on every day. There will be an emphasis on increasing capacity and to provide more reliable services.
Earlier today, we reported on £360m being allocated to new London-style ticketing across commuter rail networks, and the IRP is designed to deliver price-capped integrated ticketing with local buses and trams.
The Integrated Rail Plan was started after the Oakervee Review recommended an assessment of major rail schemes, such as HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail.
The IRP was drawn up when it became clear that the full HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail schemes would not be fully in service until the early to mid-2040s.
More details will be revealed tomorrow, but what are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.
Prime Minister Boris 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.”
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Throughout the pandemic, we stood by our railway and invested billions to keep the country moving, and we are about to unleash a £96 billion programme of investment that will transform a Victorian network into one befitting a modern country.
“The Integrated Rail Plan is designed to deliver for everyone, much sooner than under previous plans for rail schemes drawn up a decade ago, which no longer fit the way we travel today.
“Our plan will deliver a network that is fit for passengers today and for future generations – a network that works for every community and every passenger, right across the UK.”