His colleagues insist what is planned will be central to his promises to transform both the infrastructure and the prospects of the North.
As I understand it, this is about making sure the high-speed line is part of a new network of railway lines "connecting all the northern cities" (in the words of a government source).
So HS2 to Birmingham will be given the green light.
HS2a from West Midlands to Crewe will also be approved.
And HS2b will be reworked as part of a bolder regeneration scheme, a sort of "much more jam tomorrow" for parts of England north of Birmingham.
It will all sound ambitious. But given that shovels-in-the-ground work on these Northern Powerhouse projects are years away, quite a lot of trust will be needed that yet another southern PM won't ultimately betray the North (again).
And I am told he will have no enhanced role in these ambitious new plans.
Here is what a "number 10 source" says about him: "Osborne is one of those most guilty of blowing tens of billions on HS2 and it would be criminal to let him anywhere near any major project ever again".