News story

Grayling: progress on Transpennine route upgrade and Crossrail 2 to advance in lockstep

£3 billion upgrade programme for Transpennine rail route.

Leeds railway station.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has announced today (2 March 2018) that he expects a £3 billion programme of upgrades to the Transpennine route to begin from spring 2019, as an Independent Affordability Review is established to ensure the affordability of Crossrail 2.

Speaking in Leeds, Mr Grayling said that whilst work is underway on the key route between Manchester, Leeds and York, he expects Network Rail to begin investing the £3 billion into an ambitious rolling programme of works as soon as possible.

Mr Grayling also reaffirmed the government’s commitment to ensuring transport improvements across the country advances in lockstep, announcing that an Independent Affordability Review, commissioned jointly by the Department for Transport and Transport for London, has been established to ensure that Crossrail 2 demonstrates affordability and value for money to the taxpayer.

The Transport Secretary also said he will work with local authorities along the Transpennine route to discuss how to maximise the benefits of the £3 billion investment, such as creating new stations to increase access to the railway and finding opportunities for housing development.

Transport Secretary with Andrew Percy, MP for Brigg and Goole and Siemens staff at the site of the planned train factory in Goole.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling with Andrew Percy, MP for Brigg and Goole, and Siemens staff at the site of the planned train factory in Goole.

At the Transport for the Northern Powerhouse conference, Mr Grayling said:

I want to realise passenger benefits from the £3 billion we have ring-fenced for the Pennine route as fast as possible.

Network Rail has already begun detailed designs, and provided us with options for the Transpennine Route Upgrade to meet the objectives we’ve set out - for journey times, capacity and reliability.

That – in turn – has given us an opportunity to undertake the work in phases starting as soon as spring next year.

This is not just about meeting rising demand for train travel. It’s about transforming journeys too.

The Transport Secretary also said he will work with local authorities along the Transpennine route to discuss how to maximise the benefits of the £3 billion investment, such as creating new stations to increase access to the railway and finding opportunities for housing development.

The Independent Affordability Review into Crossrail 2, commissioned jointly by the Department for Transport and Transport for London, is an important step in developing the project.

It will focus on the affordability of the project, ensuring the project learns from the best practice exhibited by projects like Crossrail, and that those who stand to benefit from new infrastructure contribute to funding it. Mike Gerrard, former managing director of Thames Tideway Tunnel, has agreed to lead the review, ensuring the public gets an affordable scheme that is fair to the UK taxpayer.

Chair of the Independent Affordability Review, Mike Gerrard said:

Crossrail 2 has the potential to relieve congestion and unlock housing, jobs and development to support future growth in London, but it is imperative that it can be delivered in an affordable way that is fair to both the London public and the wider UK taxpayer.

Major projects work best when independent reviews, drawing on a wealth of experience, help move them from plans to spades in the ground. I am delighted to chair this crucial review and I look forward to working with the Department for Transport and Transport for London to ensure that Crossrail 2 is the best project it can be.

Mike Brown, London’s Transport Commissioner, said:

We welcome the government’s backing for infrastructure projects of national importance such as Crossrail 2 and are pleased to be working with the Department for Transport on the Independent Affordability Review led by Mike Gerrard. This is an important step forward for a project that is vital for London, as reflected in the Mayor’s Transport Strategy, and for the whole of the south-east region.

The Review is expected to conclude in summer 2018.

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Published 2 March 2018