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Will £84 Million Improve Reliability of Rail Services in the North?

2 min

As rail improvements begin in the North, Quadrant Transport looks at the £84 million investment to improve reliability in the region. 

In a bid to improve reliability across the region, there will be platform extensions for longer trains and more extensive depots for freight services. 

Heading up the improvements is Rail Minister Wendy Norton, who announced infrastructure projects at Manchester Victoria station. These improvements will boost connectivity within the North West and more widely with the rest of the UK, including London.

Manchester Recovery Task Force dedicated to improving rail in the region

The Manchester Recovery Task Force’s (MRTF) primary objective is to boost reliability in the region, and £84 million goes a long way to establishing this. 

If delivered successfully, it could help boost modal shift in the region, especially those commuting from Greater Manchester into the city centre 

Recently Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester Combined Authority, also declared that buses in the region would come under public ownership. Dedicating a fare cap at £2, there is a further opportunity for a modal shift.  

The supply chain is already working on track-side improvements between Manchester and Liverpool, with platform extensions taking place on the Cumbrian route. 

Transport Secretary impressed with initial improvements

Speaking after the announcement, Transport Secretary Grant Schapps said: “This £84m investment will make trains more reliable for the people of Manchester and beyond.”

Continuing, Quadrant Transport heard: “The Transpennine Route Upgrade (TRU), the Integrated Rail Plan and Northern Powerhouse Rail will transform the lives of passengers across the region for generations to come.”

Network Rail has worked with the whole industry as part of the MRTF on how to maximise this £84m investment

In addition to improving reliability in train services, the investment will also focus on these other vital areas:

  • Improved passenger facilities at Manchester Piccadilly, Victoria and Manchester Airport stations.
  • Work on the TRU will also continue with electrification, re-signalling and track renewals.
  • Re-signalling will also take place along the Castlefield Corridor and the remodelling of Manchester Oxford Road station.

These improvements have been widely received from the industry, and it is expected to cause fewer delays and increase passenger capacity in peak times by 20%. Improving cramped space on trains is the biggest hurdle in convincing people to return to rail post-covid. 

Dave Penney, Passenger Strategy Director for Network Rail’s North West and Central region, commented on the benefits of the investment: “Improving passenger journeys has been at the heart of the rail industry’s hard work to tackle congestion through Central Manchester.”