The landmark package includes:
- Completion in full of the “Northern Hub” cluster of rail enhancements with today's approval of more than £300m of outstanding track and capacity upgrades including: around £200m for the Castlefield Corridor scheme to increase capacity across central Manchester and provide two additional through platforms at Piccadilly station; capacity enhancements of around £50m on the Chat Moss route between Liverpool and Manchester; and extra capacity around Manchester Airport and Rochdale.
- These are in addition to almost £500m of Northern Hub schemes already approved across the North of England such as electrification of the North Trans Pennine route allowing two new fast trains per hour between Manchester Victoria and Liverpool, two extra trains per hour between Manchester and Leeds, a reduction in journey times between Leeds and Manchester by an average of 15 minutes and between Leeds and Liverpool by an average of 35 minutes. There will also be a new direct service through Manchester city centre to Manchester Airport.
- Extra peak train capacity for the 6,200 more passengers forecast to travel in and out of Manchester. The rail industry will now work out how best to provide this and what further changes (such as platform lengthening) this may require.
Today’s publication builds on a series of recent rail improvements announcements for the North West. In 2010 the Government gave the go-ahead for electrification of the routes between Manchester and Liverpool via the Chat Moss route, Liverpool and Wigan via St. Helens and Manchester and Blackpool via Bolton. This work is now under way and the first electric trains are expected to run between Manchester and Scotland from December 2013.
In 2011 the Government announced that that - subject to confirmation of the business case - the North Trans Pennine route between Manchester and York would be electrified. It has today been confirmed that this will scheme will go-ahead and will also be extended to include the section of line between Micklefield Junction and Selby.
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said:
"I am pleased that the Northern Hub will be funded in full as part of the Government's plans, which is a significant boost for the major towns and cities of the North, helping to rebalance the UK economy and enabling growth and regeneration throughout the regions.
"This Government is making more funds available to invest in rail projects than at any time since the Victorian era, and shows that the Government is committed to delivering on its promises to support investment in public infrastructure that will support economic growth."
Transport Secretary Justine Greening said:
“Funding the Northern Hub in full and boosting commuter capacity around Manchester and Liverpool show that this coalition government is focused on delivering an affordable, reliable and faster railway network that drives jobs and growth.
“These plans to increase capacity and shorten journey times on intercity, commuter and freight services are, alongside our plans for high speed rail, absolutely key to securing the North West’s prosperity in the decades ahead.”
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
“From Crossrail, high speed rail and now the billions of pounds of investment we are announcing today, this government is committed to taking the long term decisions to deliver growth and jobs.
“In what is the biggest modernisation of our railways since the Victorian era this investment will mean faster journeys, more seats, better access to stations, greater freight links and a truly world class rail network.”
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:
"This is the biggest expansion in railways in over 150 years, with more than £9bn of investment across the country.
“Whilst we inherited a deficit greater than any in our nation’s peacetime history, we knew that we had to give the country the boost it needs, to build great railways and make journeys better for the millions of hard working people who use the train every day.
“The ‘Electric Spine’ will make a significant difference for passengers linking London, the Midlands and Yorkshire in a much more efficient rail line, connecting the South and North more effectively than ever before.
“As someone who cares deeply about the environment, the opportunity to dramatically expand rail, a greener form of transport than aviation or road is very exciting indeed. This investment will help people to choose trains over cars, reduce carbon emissions and provide a rail system that is faster, more reliable and greener.”
The improvements will be delivered under the Government’s High Level Output Specification (HLOS) for the railways for 2014-19, which has been published today. The rail industry will now carry out further work to determine the scope of works required and the likely start and completion dates of the schemes. It will publish its plans in January 2013.
Notes to Editors
1. The High Level Output Specification (HLOS) statement can be found at: http://www.dft.gov.uk/publications/hlos-2012/.
2. The HLOS sets out information for the Office of Rail Regulation and for the rail industry about what the Secretary of State wants to be achieved by railway activities during railway Control Period 5 (April 2014 – March 2019).
3. Maps of how HLOS is benefitting each region can be found at: http://www.dft.gov.uk/publications/hlos-2012/#illustrative-options.
4. The Northern Hub project is a programme of rail enhancements based in and radiating from Manchester. It is designed to stimulate economic growth by improving train services across the North of England. The potential services and economic benefits run as far as Newcastle and Hull in the east to Chester and Liverpool in the west.
5. The new elements of the Northern Hub announced today are:
· the Castlefield Corridor scheme to increase capacity across central Manchester and provide two additional through platforms at Piccadilly station.
· capacity enhancements on the Chat Moss route between Liverpool and Manchester.
· extra capacity at Manchester Airport and at Rochdale.
6. The Government has previously announced that the go-ahead for the Ordsall Chord, line speed and capacity improvements between Manchester and Sheffield and line speed improvements between Manchester and Preston and Manchester and Bradford parts of the Northern Hub scheme.
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