Transport for the North is set to submit proposals to the UK Government for investing up to £39bn in the Northern Powerhouse Rail network.

The proposals aim to increase the capacity, speed and resilience of the rail network in the north of England.

Proposed improvements include significant upgrades to the existing infrastructure and new railway lines. Works on the programme are expected to start as early as 2024.

Transport for the North Northern Powerhouse rail director Tim Wood said: “Our leaders had a vision to connect the North by rail like never before. Today, we are a step closer to making that a reality.

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“Our leaders had a vision to connect the North by rail like never before. Today, we are a step closer to making that a reality.”

“In Northern Powerhouse Rail, we have turned ambition and passion into a robust evidence base for investment of up to £39bn.

“It provides viable options and solutions to the North’s rail challenges. For too long, passengers and businesses have been held back by slower than average train speeds and poor connectivity between our city regions.”

The Strategic Outline Business Case (SOBC) outlines several key concepts, which will form the foundation for further development in the next 18 months.

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It includes high-level concepts devised to completely integrate with the under-construction HS2, including a new line connecting Leeds and Manchester.

The proposals also include building a twin-track line linking Liverpool to HS2 and onwards to Manchester and other Northern cities.

Upgrades between Sheffield, Leeds and Hull are part of the SOBC, as well as between Newcastle and Leeds.