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Boris Johnson pledges to fund new Leeds-Manchester rail route

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged to fund a new trans-pennine rail route between Leeds and Manchester in a bid to push 'regional growth and prosperity' in the north.

In a speech in Manchester on Saturday, Mr Johnson reaffirmed that one of his top domestic priorities will be to level out opportunities, and unlock the potential not just of London and the South East - but of every corner of the UK.

He outlined his major domestic agenda, including investment in education, tackling crime, boosting connectivity, and improving technology across the country.

A new rail link connecting Leeds to Manchester is one of the first intercity rail routes to be announced.

It is part of Northern Powerhouse Rail, with detailed plans expected to be published this autumn, following the review into HS2.

The announcement was welcomed by Barry White, the Chief Executive of Transport for the North.

Boris Johnson took office as prime minister on Wednesday Credit: Press Association

“I want to be the PM who does with Northern Powerhouse Rail what we did with Crossrail in London.

“And today I am going to deliver on my commitment to that vision with a pledge to fund the Leeds to Manchester route.

“It will be up to local people and us to come to an agreement on the exact proposal they want – but I have tasked officials to accelerate their work on these plans so that we are ready to do a deal in the autumn.”

– Boris Johnson

“Northern Powerhouse Rail is key to our vision for a modern, reliable transport network that delivers faster journey times, additional capacity and greater reliability and I hope the Government will now work with us to accelerate delivery of this project. “By integrating Northern Powerhouse Rail, HS2 and an upgraded trans-Pennine line at a transformed Leeds Station we can maximise the positive impact of these investments for the benefit of all our communities.”

– Cllr Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Lead

“I am pleased that Northern Powerhouse Rail has been identified as a priority by the new Prime Minister and we now need to see the detail of how the commitments made today will be taken forward.

“A new line through Bradford city centre is the best solution for our city, our region and the North of England and we are ready to work with the Government to deliver it as quickly as possible.”

– Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leader of Bradford Council