Transport for the North proposals “excellent news” for Warrington

STP Published: Thursday, 31st January 2019

A £70bn strategic transport plan across the north of England has been announced, and it’s expected to be good news for Warrington.

Transport for the North (TfN) has published its final plan in which it sets out an “ambitious vision” in the North for the next 30 years. The plan details a sustainable, economic growth programme that links together major road, rail and smart travel investment.

Proposals for the Northern Powerhouse Rail network as part of the transport plan include a new line between Liverpool and the HS2 Manchester spur via Warrington.

The plan also confirms the expectation that a service from Liverpool to Manchester Piccadilly, via Warrington, could take less than 30 minutes – compared to the current fastest service of 50 minutes between the two destinations. Northern Powerhouse Rail would transform connections by train for Warrington – for example, services could connect with Manchester Airport in under 10 minutes, Liverpool in around 15 minutes, and Leeds in less than an hour.

TfN says the plans are set to “rebalance decades of underinvestment and transform the lives of people in the North”, adding “the transport network needs to support the movement of people within and beyond the North”.

Current road network infrastructure was cited as a significant barrier for future growth and plans have been put forward to improve journey reliability. The transport plan details the need for “resilient, alternative road routes” around the North, with proposals for a Major Road Network also set to boost connectivity between Warrington and the wider region.

Importantly, the Investment Plan which today was published alongside the Strategic Transport Plan, includes the Warrington Western Link. This Investment Plan represents Transport for the North’s advice to Government as to which scheme should be delivered, and the Council welcomes this support at a time where it awaits an announcement on funding from Government.

Council Leader, Cllr Russ Bowden, was pleased with the outcome of the strategic transport plan, saying: “The proposals put forward present a shared vision for the North, and the investment plans are excellent news for Warrington.

“The plan is an important commitment that the North will be getting long-overdue investment and reflects the ambitions of towns and cities in the region, including Warrington, to be better connected.

“Investment in transport can increase employment in the region, can reduce journey times and stimulate partnership business growth, so it’s good news all round.

“We have been working hard to make the case for Warrington to play an important role in future transport infrastructure in the North, and I’m pleased that the plan reflects this.”

Cllr Terry O’Neill, who is Warrington’s Transport for the North representative, added: “This plan will bring huge benefits to the region, delivering the infrastructure needed to help drive growth, employment and connectivity.

“We continue to work closely with Transport for the North, and I’m delighted that their vision supports our own ambitions to become a well-connected, business-friendly town, with a first class transport network.”

The plan is expected to be formally approved next week, Thursday 7 February, with TfN describing it as a “blueprint” for future economic prosperity in the North. Subject to approval, the plan will be officially launched on February 11 in Sheffield at the body’s inaugural conference. The proposals will then become TfN’s statutory advice to Government.

You can read the strategic transport plan in full here