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Anderson and northern city leaders in Powerhouse pow-wow

Debut meeting in Leeds to make tracks between Mersey and Tyne

Written by . Published on January 13th 2015.

Anderson and northern city leaders in Powerhouse pow-wow

ALMOST two centuries ago Liverpool was in the driving seat with high ambitions to build the world’s first inter-city rail line

It led, in 1830, to the opening of the legendary Liverpool to Manchester Railway, fuelling a global revolution in transport.

January 2015 - and the biggest revolution since the days of King George III has started its journey in Leeds.

The first meeting has taken place of Transport for the North, a new alliance of the north’s key authorities and agencies which was set up by the Government last October.

It is led by the city regions that made up One North: Greater Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle, together with Hull and the Humber, working in collaboration with the Department for Transport, Highways Agency, Network Rail, and HS2 Ltd.

The Transport for the North Project Board, meeting for the first time in Leeds, aims to produce an interim report in March.


Setting out its stall on this debut day were the leaders of the two cities at the extreme ends of the line,  Liverpool’s Mayor Joe Anderson and the Leader of Newcastle Council, Cllr Nick Forbes.

Spelling out the vision of cutting the journey time between the Mersey and the Tyne from three to just two hours,  the two politicians spoke the great times ahead.

What might trouble some leaders down the line, will be if the first super fast link is between George Osborne’s favourite cities, Manchester and Leeds.

Undaunted, Mayor Anderson and Nick Forbes teamed up to back the case for coast to coast transport improvements which will genuinely unlock the potential for economic growth across the north.

Mayor Anderson said: “If we want to rebalance the economy, we also have to rebalance transport spending. Government has invested billions on Cross Rail in London and continues to spend significantly more per capita in London than it does across the entire north.

“In Liverpool, our port is busier than ever and we are investing to grow it significantly over the next few years. We have to make sure we have the transport infrastructure in place to be able to carry freight and passengers across the north if we are to maximise the benefits. It’s only with this approach that the whole of the UK economy will benefit.

 “We are ready to go, we are ready to provide, we are ready to thrive, but we simply can’t do it without the long term commitment of government to invest for a whole northern future.”

Cllr Nick Forbes said: “The One North proposals are hugely important to the economic resurgence of the North of England. The plans will join up the North from the Mersey to the Tyne - reducing journey times from Newcastle to Liverpool from three hours to two hours. 

“Just as the great Geordie genius George Stephenson helped unleash the Industrial Revolution when he built the first railways across the north, a joined up north from the Mersey to the Tyne can once again be the economic powerhouse which will transform the UK’s economy. And it is not just rail - this is an integrated plan which will see the extension of motorway networks and a recognition of the hugely important role played by regional airports as vital transport hubs.

“The whole of the north stands united behind this plan with clear governance, a strong proposition, and a sound business case. We hope that the Government will work with us to make the most of this exciting opportunity.”

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14 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

John BradleyJanuary 13th 2015.

GC or not GC, that is the question.

Green TambourineJanuary 14th 2015.

They went all the way to LEEDS just to say they wanted to be CLOSER??? Why? Why? Couldn't they just phone, or E-MAIL??? And why closer? Can't we just stay WHERE WE ARE???

John EdmondsonJanuary 16th 2015.

Joe has a point about rail capacity to and from the newly expanded port. It's reasonable to assume that the Manchester-Leeds section is likely to go ahead; but a lot more work is needed to ensure that our port development doesn't just generate thousands more lorry movements. Through trains to Newcastle would be nice, but I'd rather see the Ormskirk line developed so that we can have trains going direct to Scotland. This will be good for freight, too, as it would get rid of the idiotic buffers at Ormskirk station.

9 Responses: Reply To This...
John BradleyJanuary 16th 2015.

The Ormskirk line will never have fast services on it, but a service to Scotland can be provided via Huyton & Wigan direct from Lime Street, the electrification of this is due to finish soon. www.networkrail.co.uk/North_West_electrification.aspx…

AnonymousFebruary 16th 2015.

You forgot the word "again" JB. There was a time when you could board a "Scottish flyer" at Liverpool Exchange, that would have you in Preston in two shakes of a lambs tail. The Ormskirk Preston line then became a token possession line, which meant having to wait for whichever diesel was running late. The flyers used to split at Carstairs, with coaches proceeding to Glasgow and Edinburgh depending on whether you were at the front or rear of the train. The journey to Preston became somewhat longer, you'd travel electric to Ormskirk, then change to diesel to Preston, nowhere near as exciting.

John BradleyFebruary 16th 2015.

Even then it was classed as a secondary route, compared with the route from Lime Street, just goes to show how the system was less London centric in the past and that we have lost 2 Scotland services not 1.

AnonymousFebruary 17th 2015.

It used to take little over 30 mins to Preston, you were then able to connect to Blackburn and beyond. I much preferred it to the Lostock route, which came to prevalence at a later date.

mickeydrippin'February 17th 2015.

Trains between Liverpool Exchange and Preston ceased in 1970 and, soon after, Ormskirk station was reduced from three platforms (including a bay for the electric trains) to a single platform with buffer stops in the middle separating the Liverpool Central and Preston services. At the moment therefore, through running is not possible but could be reinstated for a possible future Merseyrail service to Preston. Any services to Scotland would still have to run from Lime Street via Bootle and Aintree.

AnonymousFebruary 17th 2015.

Routes throughout the UK have been known to rise Phoenix like from the ashes. It's not that difficult given that the permanent way, was exactly what it said on the tin. Shields Rd to Paisley on the canal line, Millerhill to Bilston Glen being two of reinstated routes that I personally worked on in a former life.

AnonymousFebruary 17th 2015.

Routes throughout the UK have been known to rise Phoenix like from the ashes. It's not that difficult given that the permanent way, was exactly what it said on the tin. Shields Rd to Paisley on the canal line, Millerhill to Bilston Glen being two of reinstated routes that I personally worked on in a former life.

AnonymousFebruary 17th 2015.

Still, look on the bright side. Hop on a train to Wigan, buy some Uncle Joe's mint balls, then sally forth to Caledonia.....That's the way to do it.

CrivvensFebruary 17th 2015.

When we did that the train from Lime Street moved at little more than walking pace, we missed our connection at Wigan North Western, were told to get back on to the now-crowded train and stand all the way to Preston to catch a another train to the Land o’the Strapping Jock. It took us over five hours to get to Glesca!

AnonymousFebruary 18th 2015.

"Did ye nae remember the mint balls".

AnonymousFebruary 18th 2015.

On a journey to Truro from the "pool", I had to change at B'ham New St, to connect with "The Devonian". When it arrived, having travelled from Sheffield and all points east, it was full to the rafters of "The Mob", all returning to Plymouth. There wasn't a seat or a luggage rack to be had, even the toilet cubicles were occupied. Floor space was a luxury, if it could be found. I stood throughout the journey, until the train arrived in Plymouth, whence the massed hordes of the Senior Service departed like stampeding cattle for the taxi ranks. I arrived in Truro some hours later, to face a full days work. Never again.

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