The Northern Economic Futures Commission, convened and supported by IPPR North, calls for five points of action and investment to maximise the economic potential of rail in the north of England, especially on the back of already agreed HS2 developments between London and Birmingham.

Alongside skills and innovation, transport infrastructure is crucial for ensuring that the northern economy is the driver of national prosperity that it has the potential to be. Infrastructure investment can give an immediate boost to struggling local economies as well as providing a basis for sustainable economic growth.

The five northern rail priories are:

  1. Northern Hub: a network of rail connections and improvements through central Manchester with improved capacity out to Liverpool, Blackpool, Leeds, Sheffield and Manchester Airport.
  2. HS2-Midland Mainline Connection: a Birmingham-Derby connection to hook up HS2 with the existing Midland main line to York, thereby allowing the North to reap immediate rewards from significant investment in HS2.
  3. Extending transpennine electrification: existing plans will see the TransPennine line electrified between Manchester and York - now this is the right time to extend this programme to include connecting lines to Middlesbrough, Scarborough and Hull, which also maximises the benefits of connections to the existing East Coast main line to Newcastle.
  4. Improved rolling stock: to increase cost efficiency, reduce carbon emissions and create manufacturing jobs in the region.
  5. Station capacity improvements at Leeds, Sheffield and Liverpool Lime Street stations: to boost train and passenger numbers and encourage a preferential shift from road to rail.

View a map of the commission's five rail priorities.