Lancashire’s train companies, together with Network Rail, have teamed up to launch a single plan for the railway network.
The landmark plan, In Partnership for Britain’s Prosperity, is backed by business and passenger groups.
It sets out how Britain’s “partnership railway” of the public and private sectors will secure almost £85bn of extra economic benefits to the country and enable further improvements.
The Great North Rail Project, a team effort to transform train travel in the north of England by Network Rail, Northern, TransPennine Express, Transport for the North and DfT, is a key part of the rail industry’s plan, which also sets out four commitments to build on the railway’s progress of the last 20 years.
These include a commitment to boost local communities through investment including 6,400 extra services across the country.
This will mean space for 40,000 extra people in Lancashire and across the north by 2022.
The extra capacity will be vital to connecting more people to more employment opportunities across the region.
Alan Welsh, policy manager at the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, said: “As our roads become ever more congested, the rail network has an increasingly vital role to play in keeping people and goods moving.
“Improved rail connectivity between towns and cities in the North will encourage further investment and boost employment prospects, both fundamental to achieving a true Northern Powerhouse economy.”
Martin Frobisher, managing director for Network Rail’s London North Western route, said: “By working as one team the rail industry is transforming train travel for customers in the north of England, including in Lancashire where our Chorley-Preston-Blackpool line upgrade will bring lasting benefits.”