Northern Powerhouse Rail Business Case Delayed

At the end of this month, the strategic outline business case for Northern Power House Rail was due to be submitted to the government but that won’t be happening until the turn of the new year.

The MP for Sheffield South East and chair of the local government committee, Clive Betts submitted a Parliamentary written question that revealed the delay in a subtle way.

The planned timeframe for the completion of the northern line for service from Sheffield to the main HS2 line was asked about by Betts. The response to his query came from HS2 minister Nusrat Ghani who said that the Northern link is being considered as part of the NPR project.

To assist with the development of the outline case for the major infrastructure scheme, Transport for the North is working with partners throughout the region. This will, therefore, consider the potential timescales for delivery.

Ghani noted that this was a vital milestone within the programme but she also said that the government would be receiving advice from Transport for the North in the new year. As a result, the boss of Transport for the North’s Northern Power House Rail, Tim Wood has stated that a solid, evidence-based case for the Northern Power House Rail would be submitted by the organisation to the Transport secretary by December.

The delay is nothing new to the Northern Power House Rail because of the uncertainty surrounding Brexit has meant that other crucial issues involving the local government settlement have been pushed down the list of priorities for the time being.

This is also something that is not new in the rail industry, with Crossrail announcing that there will be further delays of a year. The London scheme was due to launch this week but the expected date for the running of services is 2020.

Earlier this year, in a similar way, HS2 explained that its Phase 2b bill would experience a one-year setback but that move was essential because it ensured that the Northern Power House Rail could play a part in the final legislation.


Deborah Lillis

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