Northern Hub Railway

Oral Answers to Questions — Transport – in the House of Commons at 10:30 am on 12th January 2012.

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Photo of Eric Ollerenshaw Eric Ollerenshaw Conservative, Lancaster and Fleetwood 10:30 am, 12th January 2012

What progress has been made on the northern hub railway project.

Photo of Theresa Villiers Theresa Villiers The Minister of State, Department for Transport

The Government have given the go-ahead for the construction of the Ordsall chord and the electrification of the north trans-Pennine route between Manchester and York via Leeds. These schemes will allow faster trains between the north-east, Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool. Network Rail is undertaking further work on the remaining northern hub schemes. We will consider these in developing the Government’s high-level output specification for rail investment from 2014 to 2019.

Photo of Eric Ollerenshaw Eric Ollerenshaw Conservative, Lancaster and Fleetwood

Does my right hon. Friend agree that if we could complete all parts of the scheme it would be a tremendous demonstration of our continued commitment to further investment in the existing rail structure and to further investment in the north-west?

Photo of Theresa Villiers Theresa Villiers The Minister of State, Department for Transport

This is exactly the sort of issue that we will consider in preparing our HLOS statement. I recognise the crucial importance for the northern economy of improving rail connections in the north. That is why we have already given the go-ahead to such important parts of the northern hub—earlier than many expected—and we will of course look very carefully at the whole project. It certainly looks to have a good business case, but delivering it will depend on what is affordable.