Mayors form private sector group to improve rail connectivity

Mayors Andy Street and Andy Burnham are teaming up to improve rail connections between the West Midlands and Greater Manchester.

They’ve formed a private sector group, led by infrastructure expert Sir David Higgins, to tackle issues on a heavily congested and unreliable rail route.

This effort comes in response to the Prime Minister’s commitment to enhance connectivity between Birmingham and Manchester, especially after the decision to cancel HS2 north of Handsacre.

The private sector work, led by global engineering firm Arup, will focus on the rail stretch between Handsacre and Manchester Airport, evaluating cost, capacity, and economic benefits.

The goal is to identify potential interventions and private-sector funding models.

The first phase aims to finish by March next year, with the final report submitted to the government in the summer.

The group had its first meeting on December 1 and plans to meet with Ministers later to discuss their plans.