THE Government is facing calls from Northern leaders for a strengthened role overseeing the region's railways - and more certainty on committed investment.

Speaking at a meeting of the Transport for the North (TfN) Board on June 9, political and business leaders said they could no longer continue to wait for the Government’s Integrated Rail Plan - expected to outline commitment to HS2, Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) and other major rail projects - and that the Plan should fully incorporate the North’s priorities.

Speaking following the meeting Tim Wood, Interim Chief Executive at Transport for the North, said: “The North has already set out its vision for the future in a transport strategy that all of our leaders are signed up to.

"Now we need clarity and firm commitment from Government on delivering that strategy. We’ve set out our clear priorities to create a Green Economic Revolution in the North and our railways are at the heart of that vision.

"We’re now working with Government and the national agencies to ensure that the investment programmes we put forward are committed to and then delivered alongside TfN."

Cumbria County Council's Cllr Keith Little sits on the board, and praised the work TfN do.

He said: "I think it works very well, leaders all work together for the North even though everybody would like something totally different.

"What they're asking Government is if they're going to be honest about levelling up, work with us. We know best about what we want and what our communities want."