Elected Mayors in the North of England are London-style powers over their railway budgets and timetables in a step forward for devolution, Boris Johnson wants to announce on Friday.
Metro mayors wants to take control of tracks, trains and stations so they can run on an integrated network, like London Overground and Merseyrail in Liverpool.
Mayors such as Andy Burnham in Greater Manchester have long demanded the change in how the railways in their areas are managed. He wants to create GM Rail to connect better with the bus and tram network in the city.
Keith Williams, formerly British Airways' chief executive, is due to be published in the coming weeks. Mr Williams has already said the current franchise system has "had its day".
Last month, the government sends it to the country's rail franchising system after it scrapped the competition between London and parts of south-east England. Instead, the Department of Transportation will award the direct award contract to the incumbent, Southeastern, until April next year.
Last month political leaders in the north of England demanded a "Northern Budget", including £ 7bn of transport infrastructure. They are also lobbying for £ 39bn to build the full Northern Powerhouse Rail east-west network by 2040.
London and Liverpool services have improved since control was handed over. The local authorities set fares and timetables, and grant decades-long concessions to a single operator.
The North of Tyne – which includes Newcastle – Tees Valley and the Sheffield City region.
Mr Johnson's railway announcement in Rotherham is expected to include details of other devolution schemes. The prime minister will not give a "Northern Powerhouse Growth Body" to stimulate the region's economy, Downing Street said. However, it is not clear how this will sit with existing organizations, such as Transport for the North and NP11 – which represents the North's 11 local enterprise partnerships.
George Osborne, the then chancellor, created the Northern Powerhouse concept five years ago. In 2016 he instigated the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, which provides a voice for business and civic leaders.
Mr Johnson is a mayor of London who says he understands the need to give mayors more power.
The prime minister is also expected to continue developing powers for the North of Tyne, Tees Valley and Liverpool combined authority areas, bringing them more into line with Manchester.
So he wants to offer to speed up talks on devolution with Leeds and other areas not yet covered.
Roger Marsh, the NP11 chair, welcomed the creation of the body, but said it should be "truly of the north and for the north". Northern Powerhouse strategy – a manifesto for the north which wants to ask for its own people, as well as from government to unlock its extraordinary potential. "
Henri Murison, director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, suggested Mr Johnson's initiative would not go far enough. "The prime minister needs to stand on the side of genuine devolution, with more powers for mayors like Andy Burnham, Dan Jarvis and their colleagues and deals for areas from Cheshire to much of Yorkshire which have so far missed out entirely," he said.
"Any new growth body for the north should be accountable and driven by those elected mayors and civic leaders with a genuine mandate to represent the public, and have serious financial powers."