£400 million rail funding boost announced

A £401 million funding boost will help rail services in the North of England and the Midlands become "faster, greener and more reliable", the Government has said.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said £317 million would be invested in the Transpennine Route Upgrade to improve "punctuality, reliability and connectivity" for passengers travelling between York, Leeds and Manchester.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the package of funding would "help deliver reliable, punctual services that passengers across the UK can count on".

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps Credit: PA

The DfT said the "bulk" of new funding for the Transpennine Route Upgrade would be used to "improve connectivity" between Leeds, Manchester and York, and deliver electrification and upgrades between York and Church Fenton in North Yorkshire.

The announcement also comes as Mr Shapps is due to appear before the Commons' Transport Select Committee on Wednesday to give evidence on the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail.

Published as a white paper last week, the plan outlines a major overhaul for Britain's railways.

This includes the creation of a new public body called Great British Railways (GBR) taking over responsibility for managing infrastructure, issuing contracts to train operators, setting fares and selling tickets.

GBR will award contracts to private firms to run trains, with incentives based on performance and passenger numbers, while it will also absorb Network Rail.