The UK is expected to start a £3bn upgrade programme to the Transpennine route in the first half of 2019.
The announcement was made by UK Transport Secretary Chris Grayling who also stated that an Independent Affordability Review has been set up to evaluate the financial feasibility of Crossrail 2. The review has been commissioned jointly by the Department for Transport and Transport for London.
Speaking in Leeds, Grayling stated that he will work with local authorities along the Transpennine route to maximise benefits of the £3bn investment, including the creation of new stations and finding opportunities for housing development.
Grayling said: “I want to realise passenger benefits from the £3bn we have ring-fenced for the Pennine route as fast as possible.
“Network Rail has already begun detailed designs, and provided us with options for the Transpennine Route Upgrade to meet the objectives we’ve set out – for journey times, capacity and reliability.
“That, in turn, has given us an opportunity to undertake the work in phases starting as soon as spring next year.”
The Independent Affordability Review into Crossrail 2, to be led by former managing director of Thames Tideway Tunnel Mike Gerrard, will focus on the affordability of the project and value for money for the taxpayer.
It will also ensure that the project emulates the best practices followed by earlier projects such as Crossrail.
Mike Gerrard said: “Crossrail 2 has the potential to relieve congestion and unlock housing, jobs and development to support future growth in London, but it is imperative that it can be delivered in an affordable way that is fair to both the London public and the wider UK taxpayer.”
The review is expected to be completed by the latter half of this year.