Britain on Monday outlined plans to invest almost £4 billion ($5 billion) to improve rail links in northern England, after it axed the region's key section of a new high-speed railway.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in October announced that HS2 would no longer run on high-speed rails to Manchester in northwest England -- and instead pledged to spend the £36 billion saved on improving current train, road and bus networks.

The government on Monday said it would inject £3.9 billion into the modernisation of a route linking the northern cities of Manchester, Leeds and York, adding that it would make journeys faster as well as more frequent and reliable.

"The Transpennine Route Upgrade represents the first major step in delivering transformed east-west connectivity in the north," rail minister Huw Merriman said in a statement, as the UK faced rail strikes this week in a long standoff over pay.

The government has already invested £3 billion into the upgrade expected to deliver electrified tracks by 2025.