HS3 rail line: Cameron and Osborne back plans to cut journey times and create "northern power house"

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Both the Prime Minister and the chancellor will back plans for a high-speed rail line in the North of England dubbed HS3.

The route will link Manchester and Leeds and is part of George Osborne's vision to create a "northern powerhouse" to extend economic prosperity beyond London and the South East.

HS3 would slash the journey time between Leeds and Manchester from 55 minutes to 26 minutes and would be built through the Pennines.

The plans will be published tomorrow in a report by David Higgins, the executive chairman of the controversial HS2 project. Higgins claims the new rail link could be as vital to the economy of the north as crossrail is to London.

Higgins said:

Improving connectivity is vital if Britain is to compete in the knowledge economy, in which this country has a competitive advantage, but in which ease of travel is an essential element.

Reducing the journey times between and within our cities isn’t just desirable for both passengers and freight. It is a strategic necessity.

Furthermore, a new body called "Transport for the North" will be set-up to speak-up for major transport projects. The body will cover Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Hull.

David Cameron said in an e-mailed statement:

Improving connectivity and reducing journey times between our great northern cities is a crucial part of our long-term economic plan for the north to boost businesses and create more jobs and security.

There is as of yet no official figure for the cost of the new infrastructure project. However, the chancellor has said in the past HS3 could cost between £6-7bn. An interim report will be released in March analysing the costs.

“By combining the strengths of the north’s great cities, the Government believes that the proposals will help transform the economy of the north of England and play a key role in delivering a Northern Powerhouse,” said the Treasury.

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