Integrated rail plan for the North and Midlands

Mr President, with my permission, I would like to make a statement on the future of the railway.

Today, I am proud to announce our Integrated Rail Plan. A £ 96 billion program that will transform rail services in the North and Midlands, the largest single rail investment ever by a UK government. An investment that is rather felt decades in the future, but much, much sooner.

Mr. Speaker, this unprecedented commitment to build a world-class railroad that delivers for passengers and freight, for towns and cities, for communities and businesses, will benefit 8 of the 10 major rail corridors across the North and Midlands, offering faster journeys, increased capacity and more frequent services, up to 10 years ahead of schedule.

Mr President, when I became Secretary of Transport in 2019, the HS2 the project was already about 10 years old. I was concerned that costs would increase and that new projects like Midlands Rail Hub and Northern Powerhouse Rail were not fully factored into the plans.

Under the initial regime, the HS2 the trail would not have reached the East Midlands or the North until the early 2040s.

Clearly, a redesign was needed to ensure that the project would be delivered to the areas it served as soon as possible.

Thus was born the Integrated Rail Plan – a desire to deliver sooner – and this is why the Prime Minister and I asked Douglas Oakervee to lead the work and make recommendations on the best way. to be continued.

One of his main criticisms was that HS2 was designed in isolation from the rest of the transport network.

The original plans gave us high speed lines to the East Midlands, but they didn’t serve any of the 3 main towns in the East Midlands, for example. If you wanted to get to Nottingham or Derby you would have had to go to a Parkway station and change to a local tram or train.

Oakervee presented a clear and very compelling case for considering HS2 as part of an integrated rail plan should work alongside local, regional and national services, not just those traveling between our larger cities.

We accepted these recommendations and asked the National Infrastructure Commission to develop options.

The Commission reported with 2 key suggestions. First, we take a flexible approach, first defining a basic integrated rail network. But that we remain open to future additions as long as cost and schedule expectations have been met.

Second, strengthening regional rail links would be most economically beneficial for the North and Midlands. Connecting cities to the main rail network, bringing hope and opportunity to communities that have felt left behind for too long. And we must seek to bring these benefits to passengers and to local economies as soon as possible.

These were the guiding principles of the Integrated Rail Plan that I am announcing today. An ambitious and unprecedented program that goes beyond simply renovating intercity links across the North and Midlands.

But it also accelerates the benefits for local areas and serves the destinations people most want to reach.

Mr. Chairman, this new scheme offers 3 high-speed lines. First, Crewe in Manchester. Second, from Birmingham to the East Midlands, with HS2 trains continuing to the center of Nottingham and the center of Derby, Chesterfield and Sheffield on a modernized main line. And third, a brand new high-speed line from Warrington to Manchester and the West Yorkshire border, reducing journey times in the north of England.

Mr. Speaker, I have heard some people say that we are only electrifying the Trans-Pennine Highway. It’s wrong. In fact, we are investing £ 23bn to provide the Northern Powerhouse Rail and the Transpennine route upgrade, unlocking east-to-west travel across the north of England.

So in total, this package is 110 miles of new high speed line. All of this in the Midlands and the North. It’s 180 miles of newly electrified line. All of this in the Midlands and the North.

We will modernize the east coast main line, with a package of investments in track improvements and digital signage, reducing travel times between London, Leeds, Darlington, Newcastle and Edinburgh, bringing benefits to the north -is much earlier than in previous shots. And add capacity and speed up service over more than 400 miles of line, the vast majority in the Midlands and the North.

We will study the best way to take HS2 trains to Leeds too. And we’ll start work on a new public transport system in West Yorkshire – righting the wrongs of this great city – possibly the largest in Europe – which has no public transport system. We pledge today to support the West Yorkshire Combined Authority over the long term to ensure that this time it actually happens.

In short, Mr. President, we are about to embark on the biggest upgrading acts of any government in history. This is 5 times more than what was spent on Crossrail, 10 times what was spent on the Olympics.

It will offer the same or faster journey times to London and on Northern Powerhouse Rail’s core network than the original proposals and bring the benefits of years earlier, while doubling, or even tripling in some cases, capacity.

Let me introduce you to some of these investments:

  • train journeys between Birmingham and Nottingham have been reduced from an hour and a quarter to 26 minutes. City center to city center

  • journeys between York and Manchester are reduced to 55 minutes, compared to 83 minutes today

  • commuters will be able to get from Bradford to Leeds in just 12 minutes – almost half the time it takes today

  • there will be benefits sooner for places like Sheffield and Chesterfield

  • journeys from Newcastle to Birmingham will be reduced by almost 30 minutes and passengers from Durham and Darlington will benefit from smoother and more reliable trains

As the IRP is effective not only for our larger cities, but also for small towns and cities. Places such as Kettering, Market Harborough, Leicester, Loughborough, Grantham, Newark, Retford, Doncaster, Wakefield, Dewsbury, Huddersfield and Stalybridge could all see improvements, electrification or faster services, benefiting in a way that they would not have done under the previous one HS2 program.

Mr. Speaker, we are not stopping there. Today’s plan is about places that connect and interact with HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail. The scale of ambition of many of these projects is beyond the scope of this plan.

Just yesterday I opened the first Beeching reversal. Reverse Beeching’s Actions. And we’re going to do the same in Northumberland – the Ashington, Blyth, Newcastle line.

We are investing £ 2bn in cycling and walking, £ 3bn in round-trip bus services. And tens of billions to modernize our country’s roads.

Mr President, after so many decades of decline, limited capacity and poor reliability, this plan will finally provide passengers in the North and Midlands with the services they need and deserve.

It’s not just about infrastructure, we’re also going to make train travel a lot easier. Today I can confirm £ 360million to reform fares and ticketing with the rollout of contactless ticketing and use in 700 city stations, of which around 400 are in the North.

Mr President, this is a historic plan, by far the most important of all network improvements and focused on the North and Midlands, with more seats, more frequent services and shorter journeys that meet to the needs of today’s passengers and future generations.

And we start immediately today with an additional £ 625million for electrification between Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds, bringing the Trans-Pennine Highway upgrade total to £ 2 billion and it continues. And £ 249million to further electrify Midland’s main line between Kettering and Market Harborough, with work starting on the integrated rail plan by Christmas, Mr President.

Communities of all sizes will benefit, across the North and in Benefit, in many cases years earlier than expected by taking a fresh look at HS2 and how it integrates with the rest of the rail system.

We will be able to build a much improved railway that will provide similar or better services to almost any destination than the outdated vision developed for HS2 over a decade ago.

This plan will bring the North and the Midlands closer together and boost their economies to compete with London and the South East. It will rebalance our economic geography. He will spread the opportunity. This will level our country. And it will bring benefits at least a decade or more sooner.

I commend this statement to the House.

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