Specifically, £60m will be used to develop plans for HS3 the objective of which is reduce the Manchester – Leeds journey time from 49 to 40 minutes and increase capacity by 2022, and to 30 minutes under a second phase. An integrated plan covering both phases should be drawn up before the end of 2017.

£80m will go towards planning for Crossrail 2 with the government set to ask Transport for London to match this funding. This underground line will run from New Southgate and Tottenham Hale via Euston, Tottenham Court Road, Victoria and Clapham Junction to Wimbledon and will connect with existing lines at Tottenham Hale and Wimbledon.

The decision to back these two projects is based on recommendations by the new National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) chaired by a former Labour transport minister Lord Andrew Adonis. The chancellor has now asked NIC for its recommendations to develop infrastructure along the Oxford – Milton Keynes – Cambridge corridor. This is likely to encompass the planned reopening of the line between Bicester and Bletchley to create a new rail link from Oxford and Aylesbury to Milton Keynes and Bedford.

The chancellor noted the publication of the Shaw report on the future structure of Network Rail (NR) which recommends greater devolution to NR's routes and the creation of new northern route. The government says it will respond to the report later this year.