Government had promised document by March

Leaders from across the North are calling on the government to get on and publish its long-term plan for railway development in the region which it had said would be out in the spring.

The area’s political and business leaders said the Integrated Rail Plan (IRP) for the North and Midlands needs to made public as soon as possible to avoid delays in delivering schemes such as Northern Powerhouse Rail and HS2.


Source: Shutterstock

Manchester Piccadilly station is set to be at the heart of the initiative to upgrade rail services across the north

When the National Infrastructure Strategy was announced last November, the government said it planned to publish the IRP by February this year.

Manchester mayor Andy Burnham said he was worried plans would be downgraded the longer the delay dragged on.

He added: “Ultimately, if the government is serious about levelling up, then the IRP cannot allow the ambitions of Greater Manchester and the rest of the North to be downgraded.”

And Tim Wood, interim chief executive at Transport for the North (TfN), said the IRP needed to be published as soon as possible so the region could start to make firm plans.

He said: “While the government has committed to delivering the projects, there are question marks hanging over the detail until the IRP is unveiled.”

Earlier this year, TfN agreed to delay submission of the business case for Northern Powerhouse Rail until the IRP was published.