Agenda item


To receive a presentation from Tom Carbery, Rail Development Advisor in relation to the Northern Powerhouse Rail and HS2.


Mick Noone, Director of Integrated Transport, provided a presentation to members which explained the progress to date on Northern Powerhouse Rail and HS2. The presentation focussed on the project timeline, recent milestones and next steps. It acknowledged that the project provided a once in a lifetime opportunity to transform rail in the North of England, and officers from Merseytravel, in particular Tom Carbery and Wayne Menzies, were thanked for their hard work.


The Director stated that points of access to HS2 had been identified and would be beneficial in improving journey times from Liverpool to Manchester, Leeds and London. Aspirations for a journey time of 1 hour 20 from Liverpool to London were discussed alongside the expected benefits for the City Region, which included an additional £3.4 billion annually to the economy, 24,000 jobs in the Region and 3.6 million new visitors per annum.


Achieving the desired journey times and service frequency were emphasised by Mick Noone as crucial and the Committee was advised that this was a significant issue for the City Region and the Officers would continue to make representations to secure the appropriate level of investment required to transform the North of England.


Members of the Committee raised the following key issues during the discussion:-


·         It was noted that any potential works such as platform lengthening would be shared with Liverpool City Council to ensure that they could be planned effectively alongside the City Centre Connectivity Scheme and Lime Street Upgrades;


·         Councillor G Friel raised the importance of improving freight capacity particularly given the implications of a no deal Brexit wherein the ports would become integral to moving produce from the West to the East of the country through the Penines. Additionally, a further issue was that the TransPennine upgrade focused mainly on moving passengers as opposed to freight; yet Transport for the North were emphasising the importance of ensuring that the upgrade included the gauge clearance necessary for the Liverpool City Region to move freight across the Pennines;


·         It was acknowledged that the Liverpool City Region had contributed officer and Member time into the development of the Strategic Business Case, while Government had provided the financial resource for modelling and economic analysis.


The Chair, thanked the Director of Integrated Transport for his presentation and echoed his thanks to the Rail team for their hard work. He further added that the Liverpool City Region was the most diligent and conscientious of the contributors to the Northern Powerhouse by always providing expertise and evidence whenever necessary. It was noted that High Speed rail was first considered almost ten years ago and at that time the Liverpool City Region had not featured on the map. Since then, the City Region had provided a great amount of input into the plans and would continue to emphasise the importance of freight.


In terms of prioritising routes, the Chair, Councillor Robinson, felt that it was in the best interest of the UK to ensure that the Liverpool City Region had the next national rail infrastructure strategy as Liverpool to Manchester had the strongest city-to-city passenger journeys. Liverpool Lime Street had the highest number of passenger rail journeys from London. Furthermore, rail journeys from Liverpool to London were also increasing in demand with only Manchester exceeding that.


In conclusion, the Chair felt that everyone involved should feel very proud when the strategy came to fruition in 2030 as it would put the City Region in good stead for the next 200 years.


RESOLVED - that the presentation be noted.