The cross rail north debate is often played out in the media with a firm focus on the passenger needs. And with the Northern Powerhouse still on the agenda, commuter needs play a key role in the regions' ability to keep and attract talent, and consequently, in wider investment decisions for businesses.

However it is important to remember that the commuter infrastructure is one part of the picture. The freight infrastructure benefits for logistics and manufacturing are far reaching. 

Where some will focus on whether commuters really need to cut time off their journey, the real issue is whether significant infrastructure investment will help the region leverage economic growth through both passenger and freight benefits.