Liverpool Lime Street station, Network Rail, c PNW

NPR aims to boost growth in Northern cities. Credit: PNW

Govt announces ‘major step forward’ for Northern connectivity

Whitehall has confirmed the route for a £12bn rail link between Manchester and Liverpool, paving the way for the next stage of development of Northern Powerhouse Rail.

The government has signed off on the preferred route for a new rail line between the two cities, confirming it will go through Warrington Bank Quay and Manchester Airport.

Henri Murison, chief executive of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said: “This is a major step forward for the Northern Powerhouse’s flagship infrastructure project.

“It will allow important legislative work on the tunnel link into Manchester to continue, ultimately giving people in Leeds and Bradford access to the North’s long-haul hub at Manchester Airport and improving connectivity between Liverpool, Hull and the North East.”

Confirmation of the route follows consultation between Whitehall and Northern leaders about how best to deliver NPR.

Once delivered, the route between Liverpool and Manchester Piccadilly would be reduced from around 50 minutes to 35 minutes, according to the government.

Local leaders have also asked for further options to be explored around the station design at Manchester Piccadilly and the approach into Liverpool.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said the announcement “opens the door” for an underground station at Manchester Piccadilly.

“Today’s Ministerial statement is a real breakthrough for Greater Manchester,” he said.

“We have long argued for an underground option at Manchester Piccadilly and finally the door has been opened to it. 

“We are confident that it represents the best railway solution and also preserves precious land for wider economic regeneration, unlocking higher productivity for the region.

HS alternative Manchester Piccadilly station, MCC, c Bennetts Associates

Manchester has long argued for an underground station at Piccadilly. Credit: Bennett Associates

Transport secretary Mark Harper, said: “Today, we are setting out the next steps for how we can transform east-west rail links in the North, helping to boost economic growth between key Northern cities as part of our Network North plan.

“I have heard a clear consensus, which means we can now take another crucial step towards delivering Northern Powerhouse Rail, part of this government’s plan to boost rail capacity, deliver faster journey times and offer better connectivity across the North.”

The confirmation of the Liverpool – Manchester link is not the only good news to come from the government when it comes to Northern rail infrastructure.

A further £35m has also been released, allowing Network Rail to explore options for connections between Liverpool and Leeds, which includes a new station in Bradford.

“Northern Powerhouse Rail is the single most critical part of the proposed Network North package, much of which is still to be costed, and it should be the first call on government infrastructure borrowing,” Murison said.

“Transforming east-west connectivity across the North of England is vital for building a larger, more investable labour market that can counterbalance that of London and the South East and drive higher productivity for the whole of the UK.”

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Can Liverpool Airport be connected to this new line?

By Liverpool4Progress

Humph. The current best time between Liverpool and Manchester is 35 minutes along the old Chat Moss line. This tortuous nonsense via Warrington and Manchester Airport won’t be any faster, and probably slower once the obligatory stops are taken into account. Andy Burnham’s played a blinder. All gain for Manchester and nowt for Liverpool as usual. These proposals don’t put Liverpool even one second closer to Yorkshire, and it won’t even benefit from much of an infrastructure spend.

By Matthew Jones

Should be >25 minutes

By D advocate

A brilliant idea for the development of the the entire sector from Cheshire to Northumberland, from Cumbria to Derbyshire. Taking in North Wales, it will revive Industry providing connectivity for the entire sector to Liverpool Royal Seaforth and the traditional Port of Liverpool.

However, it should be left to professional entrepreneurs, restraints on the local politicians who will ply their usual idiotic rivalry. The North needs employment not huffers and puffers, they have proved their ridiculous discouragement for generations.
Rejuvenation of the North means less Poverty and Starvation.

By Anonymous

I think a highspeed line and station in Liverpool which would no doubt eventually be connected to the rest of HS2 massively benefits Liverpool and is 100 times better than the original high speed plans that passed it by!

By Anonymous

It’s HS2 all over again. If this line ever gets built it is hard to see how it benefits Liverpool.

As Matthew says, the Chat Moss line already connects Liverpool to Manchester in 35 minutes so long as the trains do not stop at every station on the way.

Making it easier for people in the Liverpool City Region to get to Manchester Airport only disadvantages Liverpool Airport.

Let us hope that like that other plan to spend billions advantaging Manchster by sidelining LIverpool, HS2 Phase 2, these plans end up in the dustbin eventually. Hopefully this time before vast amounts of money are wasted on them.

By Graham Henderson

Train station for Skelmersdale ..long over due the Town is getting bigger year by year with no infrastructure

By Kenny Deary

Liverpool gets precious little out of this, no mention of a station or other meaningful infrastructure, we have an airport too but no rail links to that. No comment from Steve Rotheram here, once again he sits at the back of the class while headboy Andy Burnham gets to sit with Governors discussing the curriculum.

By Anonymous

A roundabout way from Liv to Manc, but takes fast trains off the Chat Moss line. A Liv Airport station is economically essential. And a tunnel linking Manc Piccadilly and Victoria stations too. Invest for economic growth. The Bank of England can print the money; the men, women and tools are ready and waiting. Next the other lines to boost the economy.

By Anonymous

Great news – Liverpool is the net beneficiary of this announcement! It doesn’t need building as majority of the line is already there and will enable more freight from liverpool as well as potential airport connection and major land release. The time saving on the train from liverpool to MCR airport will fall from 71 mins to 25 mins. Beggars belief people are talking this down.

By Anonymous

There’s already a train service to and from Liverpool Lime Street to Manchester Airport via Piccadilly so why do some people think this is some kind of Mancunian coup deal grace?

By Anonymous

Liverpool connected by rail to Manchester Airport but Liverpool not connected by rail to Liverpool Airport. This again only benefits Manchester. Why do we not hear from Steve Rotherham (LCR) we only ever hear from Andy Burnham. Again Manchester Piccadilly Station getting the lions share of funding but no mention of a new Lime Street Station. I just don’t understand why on every occasion there are announcements and major rail infrastructure in this region Liverpool politicians are so silent while Manchester politicians ask for everything for Manchester and usually get it. Like HS2 this does nothing for Liverpool and again gives all the advantages to Manchester. Steve Rotherham should explain why this is once again the case.

By David

Cut taxes, stop wasting money, hopefully Labour will put an end to this wastage

By Peter

“Manchester has long argued for an underground station at Piccadilly”. What Manchester wants it get. I’ve long argued for Liverpool to reuse the Wapping and Waterloo tunnels with new (underground) stations along it. Modern trams might be the answer. Perhaps a train station to LJLA and something to Bramley Moore Dock. What say you Merseytravel / Metro Mayor Steve? Maybe we should extend the Manchester Metro area to cover Liverpool and Andy Burnham can be our Mayor. Might get somewhere.

By David

M/c Victoria and all its Lancashire connections left in the cold again. No mention of routing rast out of Manchester, will it be a new ‘Woodhead’ tunnel? The Hope Valley line i
Has been a bad joke

By Sandgronian

Another promise and another fail. The people of the north aren’t buying these lies as we creep up to elections. Shocking to comprehend how this government genuinely believes people believe them with the lies they keep spreading. At what point do they wake up and realise no one is buying it. The promise comes through, the election comes, they’re (finally) out of power, the next government kicks in and stops it to repurpose that fund. Like no one can’t see that happening. 12bn for 15 mins less? Can’t believe I even typed that. And still using this term northern powerhouse. It’s a continued slap in the face of people in the north. And Andy Burnham is a complete waste of space who can’t justify his salary that we’re paying for. Yes we need the investment and better networking but not just across the north. But it’s all lies just to drum up a handful more of lost sheep.

By Black Mancunian

Not needed, people can work from home now and should only travel if necessary, let’s keep down emissions

By Anonymous

An absolute drop in the ocean compared to what they’ve cut with HS2. Hopefully we will get that underground at Piccadilly and better connections to Yorkshire. Manchester is the hub for this but the North as a whole will benefit.

By Anonymous

Money or capital invested by govt. agency is not spent and is not “taxpayers money”. It is borrowed and invested to earn a socio-economic benefit (or profit). If done privately it is called entrepreneurship or even ‘capitalism’. Not a penny is ‘wasted’.

By Anonymous

Election time

By Anonymous

This is Whitehall blabber (propaganda). Trains did and still can run non-stop from Liverpool to Manchester in 32 minutes or less! You save more time with more frequent trains. Vital is not a faster but a new link via Liv airport & Man airport (but not Warrington) freeing up other lines.

By Robert Stevenson (train driver)

When are the Mid cheshire towns of Northwich Knutsford and Middlewich going to get its 4 mile connection to Manchester airport via Mobberley

Middlewich biggest town in cheshire not to have a station

Mid cheshire line electrification its been in Tier 1 the highest tier for nearly 20 years now.

Lets get some of the money over to Mid Cheshire!

By Northwich

Ahhh… Tory promises… Remember when they promised Eurostar would come to Manchester? Remember when they promised to completely electrify the Liverpool to Hull line by 2018? Remember when they promised HS2? Everything that comes out of their mouths is bovine excrement.
Compared to how much is being spent “darn sarf”, this announcement is barely the scraps from their table

By Bernard Fender

‘Cut taxes, stop wasting money, hopefully Labour will put an end to this wastage’ – they’ll make it even worse. Taxes will increase, more money will be wasted, more pointless local authority / NHS jobs will be created.

By Dover

I prefer travelling to LPL thanks

By Anonymous

Worst in Europe bar none,for the size of the country,you can not get a direct train from bristol to manchester

By Brizblu

I would ask no urge Place North West approach Steve Rotherham (LCR) and seek a statement from him on these proposals. We hardly ever hear from him only Andy Burnham on National Rail infrastructure programmes affecting the North West. Why is this?

By David

Not needed.

By Bixteth boy

Maybe Mayor Rotheram is keeping quiet because he knows the business case will never stack up, especially if Mayor Burnham wants a third of the £12bn to have a subterranean station at Piccadilly (with no new station at all in Liverpool).

How does it give extra services to Yorkshire? Nothing here about funding from Manchester eastwards.

And Mid-Cheshire won’t get a link to the airport station, tunnelling under both runways. That was always fanciful.

By Eastwood

To have a line linking Manchester and Liverpool makes huge sense, via Warrington and hopefully ,both airports. It does however seem to be a lot of money to knock minutes off journey times. It should however,create the second most important economic engine in the country, along the M62 corridor. Let’s hope, we don’t get the usual Manc/Scouse, parochial nonsense, of my “Dad’s bigger than your Dad”, and they can start working together.

By Elephant

Why does Andy Burnham think the announcement “opens the door” for an underground station at Manchester Piccadilly? An underground station is NOT required! The link is via Manchester Airport and then into Manchester along the existing route. Manchester can simply to retain its metrolink route into and through Piccadilly Station as it exists now without unnecessary wasteful cost of an underground railway station.

By Anonymous

You can travel to Liverpool anonymous 1.07, this isn’t stopping you. I think you may have missed the point of the story.

By Anonymous

Well, a positive story overall I think, just not as positive as it could be. Sadly the myth that Labour will do any more is just that, a myth. They never have and they never will. Time for a reform if not a revolution…and everyone will just keep voting the same old way.

By Guido

re: Eastwood

You might find the airport western link proposal from the mid Cheshire line is actually only 3.5 miles in length there was no intention of going under both runways

So for that 3.5m. connection via land which Manchester airport has protected to the airport

you take off the roads many thousands of car journeys plus you get chester and north wales using it as well!

so small outlay for massive benefits! !

get it built now!

By Northwich

Let’s see the amazing renders of what Liverpool station will look like then, and the plan to generate thousands of jobs in the area around it… what’s that? You can’t?

Surely £17bn can buy more than a station for Manchester and a rump line to the edge of Liverpool?

It would be rather annoying if Liverpool citizens were expected to endure the economic power punch of Lime Street closing for three years, just to get a lean-to containing a couple of extra platforms (for the sake of civil servants continuing to collude to plug Manchester into HS2, while locking us out).

By Jeff

So basically part of HS2, that won’t be connected to HS2… Why as a country are we so incapable of building a new national intercity high-speed rail network? We’ll regret this in several decades when we have multiple systems that don’t align with each other. Just build HS2 to Manchester and Leeds as originally planned, then on the SAME system build Liverpool to Leeds via Manchester, I.e. HS3. Your grandkids will thank you, but I guess children can’t vote…


Don’t see any real benefit to Liverpool, already a 35 mins link to Manchester from lime street, seems just a way to build up Manchester Airport, if no link to Liverpool Airport will Tain stop at Liverpool South Parkway ??? …..if so good but adding a few more minutes to the journey to Manchester. Looking for to the explanation from Liverpool City Region CA on the benefits to the city region

By George

It looks like Mcr wants the lion’s share of this money leaving others with scraps, a bit like Andy Burnham always complaining that the South East gets preferential treatment.

By Anonymous

A better idea would be to turn it into a boat train(Remember those?) so people travelling from Ireland and the Isle of Man can get on at a new station at the boat terminals , via Lime Street and then on to their destination.

By Elephant

The people of the north west do not want their tax money being spent on stuff like this

By Dan

I know we’ve got basically the same bloke making his usual numerous comments about Liverpool gets nothing and Manchester bad…blah blah blah. But Manchester benefits here because of Geography and it has a progressive council. It gets no more that it doesn’t fight for . I’d look to Liverpool’s own regional leaders before rant mode is engaged.

By Anonymous

Oh dear, I think the Liverpool/Manchester nonsense is already apparent in the comments. Some people really do miss the point and by a very wide margin!

By I

we absolutely don’t need an underground anything.. including a station at Piccadilly ! just upgrade what we already now and consider affordability and frequency, this is what we need.. plus we already have a route from Piccadilly to Manchester Airport and one from Liverpool to Manchester Airport via Piccadilly .

By Anonymous

You only need fast trains from Liverpool through the bottleneck at Manchester via a tunnel then fast to East Coast and North which is already being electrified
No need for high speed rail to Mcr Airport from Liverpool as this will reduce jobs in Liverpool
Northern Powerhouse is about the whole of the North not just Mcr
Let people in Liverpool fly from their local airport Long haul from Mcr fine but you can already get here in the hour

By Steve

Andy Burnham:
“We have long argued for an underground option at Manchester Piccadilly and finally the door has been opened to it”.

The problem is Andy, it will only get closed again in the future…

By MrP

4 days on and still silence from the Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, is he in favour of these outline proposals or not. He must have a view, has he got anything out of it at all, or was it never his expectation that Liverpool would get a big new rail terminus out of it and other enhancements. Maybe his horizons are lower and he is satisfied with 3 piddly stations in Halton, Wirral and St Helen’s.

By Anonymous

We absolutely DO need an underground station at Piccadilly. If Manchester is to continue to expand, it will need tunnels under the city centre to create a proper modern metro system. The trams are awfully slow in the city centre due to traffic and pedestrians getting in the way. The future benefits of having an underground system will far outweigh the costs. See any large city in mainland Europe for how to make northern cities more productive (hint: they all have effective metro systems)

By Anonymous

Nothing for Liverpool then how about a rail link to our airport

By Alvo

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