Multi-billion pound pledge to overhaul transport

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Plans to overhaul transport in the North of England including £77bn worth of rail upgrades have been unveiled the government.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and the Chancellor will join with Northern council leaders today (Friday) to launch a TransNorth rail system and create the first ever Northern-wide investment plan.

Transport for the North, made up of senior council leaders, will work with the government in setting the road and rail priorities for the region.

Plans set out in the new strategy include slashing journey times between major northern cities with investment in high-speed rail; developing new east-west road connections, including a road tunnel under the Peak District and introducing Oyster-style smart travel cards and simpler fares across the North.

The TransNorth network – with sections capable of speeds up to 140mph – would link Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Newcastle and Hull.

The plan aims to reduce journey times between Manchester and Sheffield or Leeds to 30 minutes with a new line linked to the plans for a new road tunnel. Other benefits would see Leeds to Hull journey times reduced to just 45 minutes, and the journey between Sheffield to Hull reduced to 50 minutes.

Chancellor George Osborne said: “This report has the potential to revolutionise transport in the North and we will work closely with Transport for the North to help make it a reality.”