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Mayors establish private sector group to explore better rail links

Published: Monday 04 Dec 2023

The Mayors of the West Midlands and Greater Manchester have joined forces to explore how rail connectivity can be improved between the Midlands and the North.


Andy Street and Andy Burnham have convened a private sector group, chaired by infrastructure expert Sir David Higgins, to look at options to tackle one of the most congested and unreliable routes on the UK’s rail network.


This follows on from the Prime Minister’s pledge to work with Andy Street to enhance connectivity between Birmingham and Manchester, following the decision to scrap HS2 north of Handsacre.


The Mayors’ private sector work - which will be led by global engineering firm Arup with input from other leading private sector firms – will focus on the stretch of rail between Handsacre and Manchester Airport. The work will include re-examining the cost, capacity, and economic uplift of changes to the rail route, helping to identify packages of potential interventions and potential private sector funding models and solutions.


The aim is for the first stage of the work to be completed by March next year, with the final report due with Government in the summer.


The group met for the first time on Friday (December 1) and will be meeting with Ministers later in the year to set out their plans.

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