Yesterday saw the announcement of yet more delays to the publication of the Integrated Rail Plan (IRP), the document setting out the government's aims for the future of rail travel in this country.
The IRP had been promised at the back end of 2020 but was delayed until 'early this year'. This additional delay means that the government's plan to connect major railway projects up and down the country will now not be published until September at the earliest.
This has significant implications for both Northern Powerhouse Rail and the Midlands Rail Hub, whose business cases were dependant upon the content of the IRP.
Northern Powerhouse Rail is projected to deliver significant benefits to the health and wellbeing of those of us who live and work in the north of the country and, as covered in detail by my colleague Bob Pritchard in his recent Estates Gazette article on the continued relevance of CPO, has a pivotal role to play in the levelling-up agenda. Let's hope it doesn't disappear from the platform departure board...
...the potential gains in the programme to be made by rephasing the SOC will be outstripped by the continued delays to the IRP, delaying the step-change in connectivity, delivering transformational, clean, economic growth across the North of England brought about by Northern Powerhouse Rail.