Improved transport connections between the North East and North West are just as important as the proposed North-South high speed rail connection and the North needs to be ready to act on every opportunity.
That was the message from Arriva Rail North’s MD, Andy Hynes, in a debate on transport infrastructure at the UK Northern Powerhouse conference.
He was joined by other industry experts in a session which included several from High Speed 2 and Associated British Ports.
High Speed 2 (HS2) is a planned high-speed railway linking London, Birmingham, the East Midlands, Leeds and Manchester.
Mr Hynes said: “The investment going into the rail network during the first few years is only playing catch-up with historical under investment. We’ve got HS2 coming, but to have transport help this region work together we need journey times east west that are as fast as journey times north south and that’s about Northern Powerhouse rail (HS3), but that’s not funded, there is no plan, which is why we need to support Transport for the North develop a plan and get it funded.
“This compares with Transport for London which back projects before they find the money, so when money is available they’ve got something ready to go.
“They are ambitious, they have strong vision, we need to match that, because of course we are competing for resources with other parts of the country and we need to be at the table making our case for even more.”
Paul Griffiths, HS2 Phase Two development director said: “We are making some really good progress and moving close to spades in the ground and building a railway.
“We are consulting on the remaining areas of the route with Transport for the North to make sure that what our design aligns with Northern Powerhouse rail (HS3).”