The Mid Yorkshire Chamber responds to the publication of Network Rail's Initial Investment Plan, a set of proposals for rail investment in the United Kingdom.
Network Rail Initial Investment Plan Summary
Network Rail has published its Initial Investment Plan (IIP), a set of proposals for control period 5 and beyond. The Investment Plan sets out how the industry can deliver a more efficient and better value railway and play a key role in sustainable economic growth. The document establishes a series of particular projects which the industry would like to see funded in the future. Of particular interest to the Chamber and to local business will be proposed improvements to local services, connectivity beyond the region and major national infrastructure projects which could deliver services to the region.
The key headline projects for Mid Yorkshire, and for the wider Yorkshire region are:
• Implementation of the Northern Hub
• Electrification of the Trans-Pennine Line
• Improvement of East Coast lines to London
• In the longer term, implementation of High Speed Rail 2, and extension of the line to Leeds.
The Northern Hub
The IIP proposes investment to deliver the Northern Hub, representing a significant increase in the number of trains across the north (about 700 extra services every weekday). This improvement will provide both quicker and more frequent connections between the region’s cities including Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield.
Electrification of the Trans-Pennine Line
The IIP also identifies electrification of the North Trans-Pennine route from Manchester to York via Leeds as a strategic investment choice for CP5. This project would also include lines to Huddersfield, Temple Hirst Junction to Selby, and Northallerton to Middlesbrough.
Improvement of East Coast Lines
The IIP identified existing commitments, under the Intercity Express Programme, to replace the fleet of trains on the East Coast Main Line. These improvements will increase capacity and journey times on key routes South and North along the East Coast.
High Speed Rail
The Government has consulted on proposals for a ‘Y-shaped’ high speed rail network that would reduce journey times from London to Manchester and Leeds to around 80 minutes. This proposal is broadly supported by the Mid Yorkshire Chamber as well as by the Leeds City Region. The IIP emphasised that this improvement should not come at the expense of investments in the wider network.
The Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce broadly supports the proposals set out in Network Rail’s Initial Investment Plan, and particularly welcomes the suggested improvements to the trans-Pennine routes, as well as the implementation of the Northern Hub and rolling improvements to the East Coast Main Line. Like Network Rail, the Chamber largely supports High Speed 2 in a Y configuration, extending to Leeds, however maintains that this should not come at the expense of other much needed improvements. Continued improvements to our services should be an immediate priority.
Samuel Lewis, Policy Correspondent at Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce