Monday 8 Sep 2014
Consultation to discuss Network Rail’s plans for faster, more frequent services in the north of England
A consultation on the development of the railway between Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Oxford Road stations will be launched next week.
Network Rail is proposing to build two additional platforms at Piccadilly station and widen the existing viaduct through the city towards Oxford Road station as part of its £1bn+ investment in the rail network in the north of England.
The improvements are part of the Northern Hub project and will help to deliver faster, more frequent services and stimulate economic growth as a result of improved connections between towns and cities.
Two additional platforms and a wider railway through central Manchester would allow an increase in the number of trains travelling through the city from 12 to 16 per hour in each direction. It would also help create quicker journey times as there would be greater flexibility for express services to pass those which stop more frequently.
Following a previous consultation last year Network Rail will present its final designs for the new sections of railway and discuss its proposals about how they would be built.
Ian Joslin, area director for Network Rail, said: “As part of investment totalling more than £1billion, the Northern Hub will help to meet the growing demands for rail travel and help to stimulate economic growth across the north of England.
“Along with our Ordsall Chord proposal to link Piccadilly and Victoria stations for the first time, which is currently being considered by secretary of state for transport, this is a vital part of our plans to develop the railway.
“This level of building and engineering through the centre of Manchester is a significant challenge and we are keen to speak to as many people as possible ahead of our final proposals being submitted.”
Councillor Andrew Fender, chair of the TfGM committee, said: “The projects the Northern Hub investment will deliver are essential for us to bring our Victorian rail infrastructure into the modern age and ensure it can accommodate more trains and passengers both now and long into the future.
“But it is a programme that is very much the sum of its parts and the additional links between Piccadilly and Oxford Road are a crucial part of the overall piece.
“The start of this consultation signals an important milestone and I encourage passengers, residents and businesses to take the opportunity to find out more about the scheme and the benefits it will bring.”
The public consultation will take place until Friday 3 October. The plans will be available to view on www.networkrail.co.uk/oxpicc or details will be available and questions answered at drop-in events at the following locations and times:
Arch 68, Whitworth Street West, Manchester: Monday 15 September to Friday 19 September, 3pm -7pm; and Saturday 20 September, 10am - 2pm.
Manchester Piccadilly station: Monday 15 September to Friday 19 September, 7.30am - 10am
If approved, work is proposed to start in 2016 with trains due to use the new track from December 2018.
Notes to editors
As part of developing our plans, we have also talked with Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and Manchester City Council about their proposals to improve Greater Manchester’s bus network. To learn more about bus priority routes across the city you can visit www.tfgm.com/buspriority
About Network Rail
Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 36,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.
About the Railway Upgrade Plan
The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:
- longer, faster more frequent trains;
- better, more reliable infrastructure; and
- better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.