With publication of the long awaited Integrated Rail Plan and the many changes it brings to the HS2 project and original Northern Powerhouse Rail Plans, it can be difficult to understand exactly what the governments biggest ever investment into the UK rail network entails.
Whether you want to refresh your knowledge on the Integrated Rail Plan or learn more about the changes to HS2, we've picked out 10 key facts you need to know about these much talked about development plans!
1 - The Integrated Rail Plan is estimated to cost £96 billion and focuses on delivering and sequencing major rail upgrade plans to connect the North and Midlands. Plans to upgrade major rail lines such as Transpennine Route Upgrade (TRU), HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail are included within the plan.
2 - The main objectives of the Integrated Rail Plan are:
- To decrease journey times between services connecting the North
- To increase reliability of services within the North
- To decarbonise the railway in alignment with government plans to make all public transport zero-net carbon emissions by 2050
3 - The Integrated Rail Plan will involve the construction of three new high speed rail lines. These are:
- HS2 line from Crewe to Manchester
- HS2 line from West Midlands to East Midlands Parkway
- A Northern Powerhouse line between Manchester, Warrington and Yorkshire
4 - 3 existing rail lines will be fully electrified or upgraded as part of the plan. These are:
- Electrification- The Transpennine main line between Manchester, Leeds and York
- Electrification- The Midland mainline between London St Pancreas, East Midlands and Sheffield
- Upgrade- East Coast Main Line
5 - A contactless ticketing system will be introduced as part of the plan similar to that of The Tube to encourage contactless payments and quicken journey times for passengers. Additionally, this style of ticketing will allow for fully integrated travel between all modes of transport eg rail/ tram/ bus.
6 - By making rail travel more accessible and attractive, it is estimated that when completed, the Integrated Rail Plan will double and even treble the available capacity of public transport.
7 - It is estimated that due to rail travel becoming more attractive resulting in a reduction of cars on the roads coupled with the electrification of rail lines that by the end of project delivery over 75% of Britain's main trunk lines will be decarbonised.
8 - The Integrated Rail Plan aims to remove the bottleneck between Manchester and Sheffield lines and decrease journey time by one hour by completing planned upgrades to the Hope Valley Line.
9- The previously planned HS2 line running to Leeds has been abandoned and has instead been replaced with upgrades to The Integrated Rail Plan.
10 - A new mass transit system for Leeds and West Yorkshire is being proposed and works will begin this Christmas time. This isestimated to deliver benefits to passengers almost a decade earlier than the previously proposed HS2 line.