The TfN board meeting took place in Leeds on 24 November and included metro mayors, council leaders and representatives of local enterprise partnerships.
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “As a board, we have always prioritised east-west connectivity across the North. That is something that unites us. I would say it is the single biggest transport challenge facing this country. It is not a sustainable situation.”
TfN has asked for funding options for the delivery of the Northern Powerhouse Rail network to be considered. The funding options suggested include local contributions.
TfN interim chair councillor Louise Gittins said: “The strength of feeling amongst board members is as strong as any I have ever seen. And while they may be angry and disappointed about what has been put on the table – it is quite clear they still want to find a way forward.
“These resolutions set the board’s desire to want to work with government in determining what that way forward may be.”
The government will have to deal with infrastructure constraints in Leeds and Manchester for long-term transformation which will support the economy of the North. Currently, there are operational performance risks with intercity, regional, local, and freight services in that the services are competing for capacity where infrastructure is shared.
TfN’s suggests that the Northern Powerhouse Rail should include 12 fast trains per hour between Leeds and Manchester as opposed to eight which was suggested by the Integrated Rail Plan.
The construction of new lines is preferred to the upgrade of old lines which could disrupt passengers, freight and the economy while the re-opening of the Leamside line is expected to counter the restrictions caused by six trains per hour on the East Coast Mainline.