THE North's leaders have called on the Government to urgently publish a long-term plan for the region’s railways, to give essential certainty on investment and delivery of major projects - including Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) with a Bradford city centre station.

Through Transport for the North (TfN), the region’s political and business leaders say the Government must publish the Integrated Rail Plan (IRP) for the North and Midlands as soon as possible to avoid delays to delivery of major schemes like NPR and HS2 in the North.

The IRP is seen as a key pillar of the 'levelling-up' agenda. It’s anticipated to detail the level of infrastructure spend over the coming decades; how major projects will integrate; and when and how they’ll be delivered.

TfN says the IRP is needed now to give confidence that promised schemes will be delivered, in turn creating thousands of new jobs, boosting the region’s economy to aid recovery from the pandemic, and helping cut carbon emissions.

Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin said: "We need the Government to urgently publish the Integrated Rail Plan and commit to the Transpennine upgrade in full, Northern Powerhouse Rail with a city centre station in Bradford, the HS2 eastern leg on the same timetable as the western leg, and regional electrification.

“This investment is essential to providing the rail services our communities need as part of a joined-up West Yorkshire transport system that connect people to jobs, education and opportunities.”

Tim Wood, Interim Chief Executive at Transport for the North, added: “It’s now critical that the Government publish the Integrated Rail Plan so the North can plan with certainty around the railway investment that will be delivered. We can’t risk delays to Northern Powerhouse Rail and HS2 arriving in the North and the economic boom both would bring – including up to 74,000 new jobs with NPR."

He said it is a "once-in-a-generation opportunity to re-write the story of the North’s railways and address the legacy – and resulting problems - of underinvestment we’ve seen for decades".