Burnley MP welcomes £589m government investment in Transpennine rail service

Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham has welcomed the announcement that the government will provide £589m to begin vital upgrades on the Transpennine main line, which connects Burnley with Manchester, Leeds, and Huddersfield.
Burnley MP Antony HigginbothamBurnley MP Antony Higginbotham
Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham

Set to benefit passengers and businesses in Burnley, improvements to the line would boost local economies, with the most congested section of the route to be doubled from two to four tracks, allowing fast trains to overtake slower ones, improving journey times and reliability for passengers across the North.

Most of the line will also be electrified, with further decisions on electrification including digital signalling and improved freight capacity to be undertaken by the government as part of a new integrated rail plan to be published in December.

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“For too long, transport in the north of England has been an afterthought," said Antony. "It’s brilliant to see huge investment and attention being plugged into transport in the north, which will cut journey times and improve services for passengers in Burnley, while providing a much-needed boost to our local economy.

"This Conservative Government was elected on a promise to level up transport across the country and that is exactly what we are delivering," he added.

The improvements come after the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, announced the creation of a new Northern Transport Acceleration Council, which will ensure northern leaders have a direct line to ministers, helping to cut red tape and improve services for passengers. To be chaired by Mr Shapps, the council will meet for the first time in September and be made up of mayors and council leaders.

“People across the North rightly expect action, progress, and ambition and this government is determined to accelerate improvements as we invest billions to level up the region’s infrastructure," said Mr Shapps. “We are determined to build back better at pace, and this new council will allow us to engage collectively and directly with elected northern leaders to build the vital projects the region is crying out for.”