Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle, the five of the principal cities in northern England, have set about revealing their proposals for regenerating the north of England post-recession, the jewel in the crown of their vision is a proposal for a railway line that would operate through a tunnel under the Pennines that would see 125mph trains connecting them. The plan, called One North, would revolutionise rail transport across the north of England.
Whichever way you look at this, whether it is building bridges with northern voters or the coalition government buying northern votes, the proposal would change the economic landscape of the north and would likely attract a lot of businesses to the region. The Independent asserts that even “if it is a piece of crude electioneering, we shouldn’t mind so much, after all, politics is about listening the the needs of all the people’ though it notes that the north-east and south Wales, should not be neglected.”
The Mirror feels that “it would be churlish not to welcome Mr Osborne’s recognition that the north could again be an economic powerhouse,” but again adds a proviso that he must demonstrate his sincerity concerning this massive piece of infrastructural development.
The route will be built from scratch and will be modelled on the Channel tunnel service. This much shorter route, achieved by tunnelling under the pennines would cut journey times by half. The journey time between Manchester and Leeds or Sheffield would be little more than half an hour, with further connections to Hull and Liverpool. Carrying freight as well as passengers, the service would have terminals constructed enabling a drive-on facility for lorries, as is currently used under the Alps in Europe and, of course, the Channel Tunnel. The estimated £15bn programme of infrastructure provisions is also likely to see the region benefit many times more than the outlay.
The Daily Telegraph says that “The overcrowding and cost of living – especially the cost of housing – in London and the south-east may be the tipping point. If so, then the markets may see opportunities for investment and development in the northern cities of England”