(LONDON) HS2 North Link Report: Boris Johnson is to water down a promise to fund a new high-speed rail link in the North of England by instead focusing on upgrades to existing lines #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Nov.15: Boris Johnson is to water down a promise to fund a new high-speed rail link in the North of England by instead focusing on upgrades to existing lines.

#AceDailyNews says according to a number of papers including this report by the iNews Boris Johnson to water down promise on Northern Powerhouse Rail line with new Integrated Rail Plan: With the key Leeds-Manchester section of the proposed £39bn Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) will be delivered through upgrades on the existing transpennine track rather than a new line via Bradford, i has learnt.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a visit to a construction site in Manchester. Picture date: Monday October 4, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story TORY Main. Photo credit should read: Phil Noble/PA Wire
Mr Johnson during a visit to a rail construction site in Manchester last month (Phil Noble/PA Wire)

The Prime Minister has been locked in negotiations with Chancellor Rishi Sunak over the funding for the Integrated Rail Plan, which is expected to contain £96bn of cash for network improvements when it is published on Thursday.

But the downgrading of ambition for east-west cross-Pennine rail links is likely to be viewed as a victory for Mr Sunak in his latest battle with the PM overspending.

It is also likely to enrage northern leaders, whose hopes were raised wheni revealed last month that Mr Johnson had delayed the publication of the rail plan as he wanted it to be more ambitious.

It will amount to a double blow for the North with the rail plan also expected to confirm that the final phase of HS2 high-speed rail between Birmingham and Leeds will be scrapped.

Days after taking office in July 2019, Mr Johnson made a speech in Manchester in which he said he wanted “to be the Prime Minister who does with Northern Powerhouse Rail what we did for Crossrail in London”.

The speech also contained “a pledge to fund the Leeds to Manchester route”, with No 10 making clear the PM was referring to “new intercity rail routes”.

But understands the rail plan will only commit to pumping more cash into existing Transpennine Route Upgrade proposals, with the Government likely to argue this will allow it to deliver improvements more quickly and at a lower cost.

Bradford, one of the country’s most deprived cities, is expected to be the biggest loser as the new line was slated to run via the city, although it could still benefit from smaller scale improvements when the plan is published.

A senior civil servant said: “This is a half-arsed attempt at building a high-speed rail network in the North. 

“What sounds like a big pot of money is really a lot of smaller scaled back projects piled together into one big announcement to hide that they are in reality delivering fewer things over a longer period of time. 

“It’ll be downgrading the North compared to the levelling up that other areas are getting from the benefits of HS2 and Crossrail over the decades to come.”

Conservative MP Kevin Hollinrake, who represents Thirsk and Malton in North Yorkshire, said the Bradford link was key.

“If we lose key elements alongside losing the final phase of HS2 we are missing the point here, we are not willing to put our money where our mouth is,” he told i.

Shadow Transport Secretary 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 of people.”

Henri Murison, director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said it was time for the Government to deliver new lines including NPR “in full”.

“We haven’t had a major new rail line in the north since the Victorians and it means our infrastructure is simply not fit for a 21st century economy,” he said.

“Connecting the great cities of the north from Liverpool across to Hull and Newcastle was at the heart of the original Northern Powerhouse vision. 

“We can’t deliver that long-term vision to close the North-South divide or decarbonise our transport system without new lines.”

To make up for the scrapping of the final leg of HS2, there will be improvements between Leeds and Sheffield, electrification of the Midland mainline between London and Sheffield and a new high-speed route from Birmingham to East Midlands Parkway, just south of Nottingham.

Red wall voters are also set to benefit elsewhere, with the Bolton to Wigan route electrified at a cost of £78m, and previously cut routes between Sheffield and Stocksbridge in South Yorkshire, and the Stockport to Ashton line in the North West, restored.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “Work is continuing on the Integrated Rail Plan: We will publish it shortly and do not comment on speculation.”

#AceNewsDesk report ……….Published: Nov.15: 2021:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#hs2, #bradford, #london, #manchester, #npr, #railways