North needs ‘significant investment’ to improve rail connections, report warns

The north of England requires ’significant investment’ to improve transport links and support economic growth according to a new report from the National Infrastructure Commission.

The Commission warned that an immediate plan is needed to improve reliability, reduce journey times and improve capacity on northern transport links, saying that poor connections make the north a less attractive place to live and do business.

The report calls for the HS3 high speed rail line to be ‘kickstarted’ as soon as possible and be integrated with HS2, along with the redevelopment of the north’s gateway stations.

In addition to rail developments, the Commission has said that investment needs to be brought forward to support a boost in capacity on the M62, which it claims it the north’s most important east-west link.

The report acknowledges that improving connectivity in the north ’will not be sufficient to create the Northern Powerhouse’, but posits that it must form part of a broader strategy that also incorporates improvements in education, workforce training, research and innovation, spacial planning and wider infrastructure investment.