The UK Government is set to deliver a package of key benefits for the North of England, with passengers soon to become beneficiaries of a reduced number of delays and more reliable journeys, following a £72m announcement today.
Rail Minister Huw Merriman spoke at Manchester Victoria Station, revealing the latest of 4 key infrastructural upgrades to improve passenger journeys whilst also delivering major economic growth through enhanced productivity.
Passengers travelling through Manchester will benefit from the delivery of a third platform at Salford Crescent station, accompanied by vital track improvements across the north of the city, aiding in the overall reduction of bottlenecks and station overcrowding.
The improvements for Manchester don’t stop there, with Victoria Station set to receive extra entry and exit points to the platforms, ensuring ease of access for passengers through the particularly busy periods.
Transport Secretary Mark Harper said:
“This investment supports our commitment to transforming journeys across the north by achieving much needed infrastructure improvements in Manchester.
“Today’s funding, alongside major projects like HS2, the TransPennine route upgrade and Northern Powerhouse Rail, demonstrates our pledge to improving opportunities for passengers across the region and leaving a positive impact for generations to come.”
This funding announcement comes after of a recent new timetable launch back in December of 2022, which was supported through an £84m investment to ensure enhanced performance and platform extensions to accommodate electrified trains.
Through these implemented changes, travel delays across central Manchester have notably decreased by up to 40% when compared to that of the 2019/20.
Rail Minister Huw Merriman said:
“This new investment will help make train services more reliable for the people of Manchester and beyond, marking another milestone in a decade’s worth of rail improvements across the region.
“An efficient railway is key to levelling up and the improvements achieved through this package will help boost local economies and connect people to opportunities, as well as friends and family.”
Today’s major announcement represents a pivotal step towards the overall transformation of services throughout the next decade, delivered through the Manchester Task Force, a collective industry body comprised of:
- Network Rail
- Transport for Greater Manchester
- Transport for the North
- local train operators
In response to this development, Network Rail has withdrawn a previous planning application for infrastructural works in and around the city, helping to deliver for passengers as quickly as possible, whilst also ensuring value for taxpayer money.
The task force has also been entrusted with ensuring the £26m that has already been injected for improving services at Manchester Piccadilly, Airport and Oxford Road stations, is supported. This, accompanied by the ongoing electrification upgrades, will pave the way for enhanced timetables and the introduction of HS2 services.
Network Rail’s Tim Shoveller said:
“Today’s announcement is really positive, allowing us to get on with fixing the infrastructure around central Manchester so we can run trains more reliably.
“The rail industry has come together to work on these proposals, building into a long-term vision that will get the best for our passengers and freight users alike.
“We also have ambitious plans for the future of Manchester Oxford Road. We’re removing our previous planning application so we can move forward with a new approach, something we’ll be consulting residents and businesses on later in the year.”
Accompanying the recent Manchester transport devolution deal, this government investment will transform the region and produce an integrated London-style transport on the Bee network.
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said:
“There is a massive opportunity to change rail journeys for people and businesses in Greater Manchester and the North for the better, and this infrastructure investment is a welcome next step to help make that happen.
“Through the task force and our trailblazer deal, we will continue working with government and the industry to help shape the comprehensive package of improvements needed to transform rail travel and support our growing economy, so that we can create more jobs and homes.”