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Osborne backs east-west high speed link in the North

Greengauge 21 strongly welcomes George Osborne’s call for a new high speed rail link east-west across the North.

This is further clear backing of the thrust of Sir David Higgins’ recent HS2 Plus report. David Higgins highlighted poor connectivity in the North – not just north-south to Birmingham and London but east-west from Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds to Hull as well – needs tackling to support a vibrant Northern Economy. A Northern Powerhouse capable of complementing the economic success of London and the South-East: a Northern Powerhouse helping rebalance the economy north-south.

A trans Pennine high speed rail link has always been a core component of Greengauge 21’s national high speed rail strategy – Fast Forward – first published in 2009. It links up the North’s cities alongside HS2 to London. Well designed, a trans Pennine high speed rail link supports Newcastle-Leeds-Manchester-Liverpool services and also to Manchester Airport. It supports Nottingham-Sheffield-Manchester-Liverpool services as well.

In HS2 Plus, David Higgins also emphasised the key to improving connectivity east to west is integrating HS2 into the existing network. The Chancellor agrees and so do we at Greengauge 21. Well designed the new trans Pennine link can support or free up existing capacity for new rail freight across the North as well as faster, more frequent travel linking up the North’s cities.