In Boris Johnson’s first speech outside of London since becoming prime minister, he has pledged to fund a new high-speed rail route between Leeds and Manchester.
The trans-Pennine transport link between Leeds and Manchester is a key route in the north. On the 36-mile journey, the new high-speed rail line would cut journey times from 50 minutes to less than 30 minutes, in addition to providing extra capacity. The UK Prime Minister claimed the benefits of the faster rail route would be “colossal” and that the new route is intended to help “turbo charge” regional growth.
The improved route is expected to boost the economy, create jobs, and bring investment to the two cities and region. Improving transport is key to boosting the Leeds property market, and better trains and improved connectivity is likely to draw more people to the Yorkshire city. Manchester is also set to benefit from this new route as upgrading transport has been key to keeping up with demand, especially from high-profile employers and employees.
Northern Powerhouse Rail
In Boris’s speech over the weekend, the Prime Minister said: “I want to be the prime minister who does with Northern Powerhouse Rail what we did for Crossrail in London.” Northern Powerhouse Rail is a wider commitment to link the northern cities from Liverpool to Hull. It was first announced in 2014 and has been estimated to cost £39bn to implement. The new Leeds to Manchester line would be the first section of the rail investment to be carried out.
Many in the north, including Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, hope Boris sticks to his promise and also provides further funding to connect the whole of the north with a new rail line. The full details of the Leeds to Manchester route will be published in the autumn after a review of HS2, the north-to-south high-speed rail line that’s currently in progress.
Since the launch of the Northern Powerhouse five years ago, £13bn has been invested into transport. In the north, transport networks are seeing major improvements, and the government is looking to build on the progress that has already been made. Transport upgrades, like a new high-speed rail link between Leeds and Manchester, is likely to bring more investment and economic growth to the region, in addition to bringing more people to live, work, and invest in the two cities.