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A new 125mph trans-Pennine rail route, giving greatly reduced journey times between the north of England’s leading cities by 2030, is a key goal of a transport strategy launched under the banner One North: A Proposition for an Interconnected North.
The plan responds to HS2 Ltd Chairman Sir David Higgins’ call for the North to maximise the benefits of HS2 by developing connectivity between its cities and with airports and ports.
But it also reflects the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ theme of Chancellor George Osborne, to whom the strategy was presented in Manchester on August 5, as well as the concept of treating Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds as one linear city for the purpose of economic development.
If implemented in full the ideas in One North, which include improved road and air connectivity as well as rail, would cost
£10 billion to £15bn. Rail would take by far the greatest share.
The strategy also calls for a new 140mph-capable route to be built between Newcastle and Darlington, shaving ten minutes off journey times south from Newcastle, and giving the capacity necessary for growth on Tyneside.
Additionally, it says HS2 should be delivered to Sheffield and Leeds earlier than currently planned, and that HS2’s London-Birmingham Phase 1 should be extended to Crewe.
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