MPs from both Labour and the Conservatives are calling on the Government to fund the £500m Northern Hub proposals.

The project aims to cut journey times, ease overcrowding and create jobs across the area, as well as helping to reduce the North- South divide.

Some rail improvements have already been given Government approval, including the Orsdall Chord, which will join Victoria station with Oxford Road and Picadilly, and the electrification of the trans-Pennine line from Manchester to Leeds and York.

Network Rail is currently assessing the remaining elements of the package to ensure it is value for money.

Penistone and Stocksbridge MP Angela Smith said: “The Northern Hub project is the north’s equivalent to London’s Crossrail. A completed Northern Hub project will ease congestion around Manchester, helping improve rail traffic throughout the north.

“Already the congestion around Manchester is curtailing economic activity and costing businesses money. For the £500m cost of the improvements the returns are great.”

But transport minister Theresa Villiers said: “I fully appreciate how much support there is for going ahead with the whole package and fully appreciate the benefits it will potentially deliver.

“I can assure you that Government will be considering the Northern Hub package as a whole as well as its individual elements when we make our decisions this summer.

“Whether we can fund the whole programme [in the next rail spending period] depends on what’s affordable within the available budgets. We will need to assess the case for improvements elsewhere in the country do determine which projects can be given priority.”

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Author's Bio: 

Roy Rowlands writes for Rail Technology Magazine an independent technical trade journal for the UK rail industry offering a wide view of rail news views and opinions, he also writes for a rail jobs board reporting on the latest trends in rail recruitment