Cities across the north unite for Northern Hub rail campaign
- Published on Wednesday, 15 February 2012 15:19
- Posted by Matthew Abbott
The five largest cities in the north of England have joined forces to urge the government to fund the Northern Hub programme, a major rail improvement scheme that would generate £4bn in economic benefits.
The leaders of Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle and Sheffield City Councils have written jointly to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to stress how important it will be for the Treasury to commit to the £560 million scheme, in full, for delivery between 2014 and 2019.
The city leaders have taken this rare step in support of the scheme because its benefits would stretch across the north as a whole, releasing the economic potential of the region while generating up to 30,000 jobs and improving the local and inter-city rail connections that are vital for the region's commercial success.
The Northern Hub proposals, developed by Network Rail, would unlock the capacity constraints of the north's rail network - currently a significant obstacle to economic growth - and would enable 700 more trains to run every day across the region.
This equates to around 44 million more passenger journeys every year, making rail travel a more attractive option for commuting, business and leisure.
As well as the full support of the five biggest cities in the north, the Northern Hub also has public backing, with over 83 per cent of those surveyed agreeing with the scheme and 80 per cent saying they will be more likely to travel by train if the plans are carried out.
Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) is working with council leaders, MPs and business communities across the north to push for the Northern Hub to be funded as a complete package, rather than on a piecemeal basis, in order for the economic potential of the scheme to be fulfilled.
Councillor Andrew Fender, Chair of the TfGM Committee, said:
"The Northern Hub scheme has clear and significant benefits for Greater Manchester and the whole of the north of England.
"It makes sense for us to work with the other major cities in the region to support the Hub proposals by urging the Chancellor to commit to funding them in full, and soon."
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said:
"This isn't a situation where we're competing for funding with other cities: we'll all benefit from the boost to jobs and the economy that the Hub will provide.
"If Greater Manchester and the wider north are to reach their full economic potential, we need more capacity on our railways and faster, more frequent rail links between our cities, and that's what the Northern Hub can deliver."
Source: Transport for Greater Manchester