TRANSPORT leaders have called on the Government to keep their promises over £3bn improvements to railways in the north.

The Transport for the North Board met in Sheffield this week to discuss the Government’s five-year plan to upgrade the Transpennine line, which will improve journey times between Manchester and York, increase the number of long distance trains each hour, with greater capacity, freight and a higher reliability.

The board called on the Government to ensure all initial promises were kept, upgrades were environmentally sustainable, and would not have a negative impact on air quality.

John Cridland, Transport for the North chairman, said: “We are pleased that the Government is showing continued commitment to the Transpennine Route Upgrade, which is a vital component of the Northern Powerhouse, and we look forward to working closely with the Department for Transport and Network Rail as detailed design begins.”

The board expressed their frustration at performance of services in the region, and viewed presentations by Northern, TransPennine Express and Network Rail on their improvement plans.

The board also heard Richard George had been appointed to work with Transport for the North, to oversee both infrastructure and train operations, drawing on experience within the rail industry, and heard terms had been agreed between the Rail North Partnership and Northern on compensation for some regular travellers hit by disruption by recent changes.

Mr Cridland said: “Our focus as a board is on a rail service that is reliable, resilient and environmentally sustainable and we will continue to press the industry in order to deliver on our vision.

“Richard George’s appointment is a major step forward for the travelling public of the North and a clear indication that Government is listening to the views of Transport for the North. It will enable us to address the structural issues relating to the rail industry that have had a major impact on passengers, while the imminent implementation of the further compensation scheme we have been seeking will help passengers who were disrupted earlier this year.”