Combined Authority Chair responds to Transport Secretary's �3 billion trans-Pennine announcement

Combined Authority Chair responds to Transport Secretary's �3 billion trans-Pennine announcement

Speaking at the Transport for the Northern Powerhouse conference in Leeds today Chris Grayling said he expects a �3 billion programme of upgrades to the trans-Pennine rail route to begin by spring 2019. He said it�would deliver�significantly better journeys for passengers and drive forward economic growth in the region. He also said he expects Network Rail to begin investing the �3 billion into an ambitious rolling programme of works as soon as possible.

Responding to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling�s announcement of investment proposals for the trans-Pennine rail route, Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, said:

�We welcome and share the Transport Secretary�s desire to see that improvements are made swiftly to the trans-Pennine route to benefit passengers as soon as possible.

�We look forward to seeing more detail of the proposals for this upgrade and hope they deliver on our ambitions for all rail services and customers using this transport link, which is vitally important to the Leeds City Region economy.

�Ensuring the benefits of upgrading the trans-Pennine route are maximised is a critical step towards the longer term plans for strengthening existing transport corridors all across the north and building new ones as outlined in Transport for the North�s plan.�

Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Judith Blake said:�"We welcome this announcement about upgrading the Transpennine route and we are keen to see the full details, especially the extent of the electrification proposed. It a testament to all the partners and stakeholders who have spoken with one voice about the need for this work to be carried out as a priority so we�d like to thank them for their efforts.

"This needs to be just the start of much-needed significant transport infrastructure investment in the north and we will continue to push for more to be delivered as quickly as possible to boost our economic growth and to improve the lives of millions of people.�

The Transport Secretary said he was also commited to working with local authorities along the trans-Pennine route to discuss how to maximise the benefits of the �3 billion investment, such as creating new stations to increase access to the railway and finding opportunities for housing development.