The UK Government has agreed to the proposed development of HS3, a high-speed rail link that connects cities in the north, in a bid to improve connectivity and reduce journey times.
The decision follows the report published by HS2 chairman Sir David Higgins that put forward a proposal to expand the benefits of HS2 in the northern region.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: "Improving connectivity and reducing journey times between our great northern cities is a crucial part of our long-term economic plan for the north to boost businesses and create more jobs and security for hardworking people; that’s why we are backing HS3.
"I welcome Sir David Higgins’ report, which will help our work to create a northern powerhouse and ensure that HS2 delivers the maximum economic benefits."
For this project, a new body called Transport for the North will be developed and it will join hands with other authorities and stakeholders.
The project will cover regions including Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Hull.
Working with Transport for the North, the UK Government will develop a transport strategy including options, costs and a delivery timetable for an HS3 east-west rail connection.
This high-speed line is expected to reduce the travel time between Leeds and Manchester from around 55 minutes to between 26 and 34 minutes.
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said: "On the back of new transport infrastructure, science investment and civic leadership, we are well on our way to turning the northern powerhouse into reality."
In August this year, the plan for a new high-speed rail link across the Pennines was also backed by the northern city authorities.
Higgins’ proposal also includes plans for a hub station at Crewe and a review of the right solution for Leeds station to offer connections between HS2, existing rail services and improved east-west connections.
The government will develop a detailed plan for phase two of the £50bn HS2 scheme in 2015.
Image: The new high-speed rail line will improve east-west connectivity across northern England. Photo: courtesy of HS2.