Transforming connectivity in the Northconnecting the people, communities and businesses of the North

Our preferred Northern Powerhouse Rail network will:


3.8 million

3.8 million people within 90 minutes of four or more northern cities



Over 100,000 more jobs in our urban areas


£3.4 billion

GVA uplift valued at £3.4bn in 2040

Our vision is of a thriving North of England where modern transport connections drive economic growth and support an excellent quality of life.

The benefits


Bring Manchester Airport within 90 minutes reach for 4.3 million people (with NPR and HS2)

Train and tunnel

Integrate with HS2, TRU and other rail schemes to maximise benefits for the North

Advanced manufacturing, Energy, Health innovation, Digital

Better connect the North’s ‘prime capabilities’ (advanced manufacturing, energy, health innovation and digital)


Increasing opportunities for both workers and consumers


Reducing disruption and improving capacity across the network


Delivering better freight services and reduced conflict with other traffic

Northern Powerhouse Rail could be delivered over a 20-year period through a combination of new lines, use of planned HS2 infrastructure, and major upgrades to existing routes


The picture today

Rail passenger numbers across Greater Manchester have increased dramatically over the last twenty years. In the last decade the number of passengers using Manchester Piccadilly station has increased by 29% to more than 30 million

Manchester has always shown a spirit of innovation coupled with drive and ambition to succeed, and a new rail service presents the city with an exciting opportunity to develop and reach exciting new heights.

Image of Tim Cook Tim Wood
Director, Northern Powerhouse Rail

Connecting and empowering the North's
prime capabilities

Advanced manufacturing

Advanced Manufacturing



Health innovation

Health Innovation



A blueprint for the future

Options currently being explored for Greater Manchester include a new line between Manchester and Leeds via Bradford, new and upgraded rapid rail lines to connect the city to Liverpool utilising the new HS2 line and major upgrades to the existing route to Sheffield.

Map Key

Northern Powerhouse Rail junctions with HS2

Junction on HS2 mainline for Leeds - North East services
Junction on HS2 Leeds spur to facilitate through services via existing Leeds station
Junction on HS2 mainline for Sheffield - Leeds services
Junction at Manchester Piccadilly to support Northern Powerhouse Rail platforms
Junction on HS2 Manchester spur for Manchester - Liverpool services
South facing junction on HS2 mainline for London - Liverpool services
Map of routes


Northern Powerhouse Rail could deliver a step-change in Greater Manchester’s connectivity, delivering transformational, clean, economic growth.

With Transport for the North’s preferred network, we expect:


A resilient and reliable network

that will reduce disruption and improve capacity

3.1 million

more people within 90 minutes of Manchester city centre*

Connecting businesses

more businesses within 90 minutes of Manchester*

* Benefits are based on preliminary assessment and are subject to change.

The North must rise to the occasion. Now is the time to help make a vision for better rail a reality.

Northern Powerhouse Rail:

Connecting and growing the economy of the North of England.