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Will delivering east-west rail connectivity include the SELRAP East Lancs Link?

"The Government announced on 4th December that it is giving a £3.9 billion boost to speed up the Transpennine Route Upgrade between Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds and York

It marks the latest move in the government’s ambitious plans to make the right long-term decisions for UK transport infrastructure.

Once complete, the full route will offer significantly improved services on the route between Manchester-Huddersfield-Leeds-York with rail users benefiting from a fully-electrified line, accessible stations and more frequent services.

With work already well underway on the project, today’s announcement means the government has invested a total of £6.9 billion into the upgrade, with the initial £3 billion funding work to deliver early benefits by the middle of the decade, such as the electrification of tracks.

Further funding will be confirmed by the department as the project progresses to support the overall cost of up to £11.5 billion. This takes the total investment from central government above what was provided for Crossrail, reflecting the scale of what’s being delivered for northern passengers says the Government.

Rail Minister Huw Merriman said:

The Transpennine Route Upgrade represents the first major step in delivering transformed east-west connectivity in the north and I’m delighted to announce this multi-billion-pound funding boost to move to the next stage of delivery.

Today’s announcement demonstrates this government’s commitment to delivering its Network North plan which will improve journeys, help to level up regions and grow the economy.

Darren Oldham, Transport for the North’s Director of Rail and Road said:

This is a major milestone for the TRU project as it upgrades a key rail corridor across the North, bringing improvements for passengers and extra capacity for freight. TfN has been working with partners for some years to bring forward these benefits, which will lay the foundations for further transformational development from Northern Powerhouse Rail."

Where does that leave the SELRAP Project? It looks as if the Government is putting all its DfT eggs in this project linked to Northern Powerhouse Rail with nothing left in for kitty other rail projects in the North unless we interpret Merriman's Statement "The Transpennine Route Upgrade represents the first major step in delivering transformed east-west connectivity in the north" more widely as "the first major step" with others to follow, including the SELRAP Rail Connectivity Transpennine Scheme or does he mean this a first major step as part of the Northern Powerhouse Rail Strategy?

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