Whitehall “to delay release of rail plans beyond spending review”

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The government’s long-delayed integrated rail plan will not be released until November, according to reports.

The document – which is to explain how the new rail lines, including HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR), will be integrated – was due to be announced alongside next week’s spending review, but could now still be delayed.

Details on whether to continue with Phase 2b of the East Branch of HS2 are expected to be included in the document, which was first promised when the government responded to Oakervee’s review in February 2020.

A report in the Birmingham courier Friday (October 22) morning, said that the publication of the integrated rail plan had been postponed to “mid-November”. He did not indicate a reason for this.

According to I newspaper, Prime Minister Boris Johnson rejected a draft version of the document and said his vision for TransPennine rail improvements did not go far enough.

He quoted a Whitehall official as saying: “The [plan] is currently being rewritten with the PM policy team.

“Boris came back from vacation and was not happy with what the Treasury and the Department of Transportation had proposed, namely an NPR network on a small budget, when this is his flagship Red Wall policy. “

The I The newspaper also claimed that the eastern section of HS2 Phase 2b from Birmingham to Leeds should be removed.

A spokesperson for the Department of Transport did not respond to questions about the delay in releasing the document.

They only said: “The Integrated Rail Plan will soon describe exactly how major rail projects, including Phase 2b of HS2 and other transformation projects such as Northern Powerhouse Rail, will work together to provide reliable rail services including passengers. North and Midlands need and deserve. “


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