UK: HM Treasury has published a Growth Plan listing rail, light rail and other infrastructure projects which are to be be ‘accelerated as fast as possible, aiming to get the vast majority starting construction by the end of 2023.’
Rail projects listed are:
- Cambridge South station;
- Northumberland Line;
- White Rose station, between Leeds and Huddersfield;
- Thorpe Park, station between Leeds and Selby;
- Transpennine Route Upgrade;
- East West Rail;
- Leeds Station Enhancement;
- Manchester Improvements;
- Midland Main Line Phase 3 (Market Harborough – Sheffield electrification);
- Northern Powerhouse Rail.
Rail and light rail projects under the plans’ Local Transport category are:
- Independently-powered electric multiple–unit network expansion;
- Wednesbury to Brierley Hill West Midlands Metro extension;
- West Yorkshire Mass Transit;
- Middlesbrough station;
- Darlington station;
- Aldridge station;
- Sheffield Supertram renewal.
The Treasury said the projects might benefit from planning and regulatory reform or other options to accelerate development, but noted that inclusion in the list published on September 23 did not guarantee funding, planning consent or regulatory approval.
Welcoming the focus on accelerating the delivery of rail infrastructure projects, Rail Partners CEO Andy Bagnall said he looked forward to detailed proposals.
However, the Rail Forum cautioned that ‘as always, the devil will be in the detail as to just what some of these schemes will include and what, if any, trade-offs might be required.’
Martin Tugwell, Chief Executive of Transport for the North, said ‘we welcome the government’s recommitment to many of these schemes that the TfN board has prioritised as being key to realising the north’s economic potential. TfN is keen to work with the government to accelerate the delivery of this investment, drawing on TfN’s technical capability and capacity wherever that is helpful.
‘We look forward to seeing the detail of the Planning & Infrastructure Bill when it’s published and will continue to use our knowledge and experience to demonstrate how evidence based decision making at the regional level adds value.’
Beth West, CEO of East West Railway Co, said that project would offer ‘cleaner, faster travel between home and work and opportunities for days out, reducing journey times, traffic congestion and pollution’, adding that ‘we are delighted at the prospect of delivering the benefits of this fantastic new line for hundreds of thousands of people.’