Govt commits £84m to North West railway infrastructure

The money will go towards improving the reliability of trains in the region as well as minimising delays.

The £84m infrastructure upgrade package is part of the Secretary of State’s Manchester Recovery Task Force’s plans for improving rail services in the region. It includes the delivery of track-side upgrades, platform extensions and larger depots.

Work has already begun on some aspects of the plans, including upgrading the track-side equipment between Manchester and Liverpool and extending platforms on the Cumbrian route.

The Department for Transport breaks down the infrastructure package accordingly:

  • £16.8m of the investment will go into a two-phase programme of infrastructure works to enhance the performance and reliability benefits of the new December 2022 timetable, including track improvements on the Manchester-Liverpool route and platform extensions at four stations on the Cumbrian route, which will start this summer and be complete by December.
  • £41.5m will go into depot improvements and 17 platform extensions on the Chat Moss, Bolton, Styal and Leeds NW lines. This will support the already-planned roll-out of refurbished Class 323 electric trains by Northern, with work beginning this summer and to be completed by Summer 2023, meaning that passengers can enjoy better reliability and capacity across routes, including the Bolton Corridor.
  • £26m will go towards design and development work on three planned tranches of upgrades to improve passenger facilities at Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Victoria, as well as plans for re-signalling works on the Castlefield Corridor and remodelling of Oxford Road station, all to be completed by the mid-2030s.

Funds for the infrastructure package are in addition to those associated with the multi-billion pound Transpennine Route Upgrade project and the government’s Integrated Rail Plan, which will invest £96bn in improving rail services in the North and Midlands.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said the £84m package announcement “kicks off a decade’s worth of improvements across the region”.

“The Transpennine Route Upgrade, the Integrated Rail Plan and Northern Powerhouse Rail will transform the lives of passengers across the region for generations to come,” Shapps said.

“As we level up the country, we’re determined to use rail to boost local economies, create greener journeys and changes lives for the better.”

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So even though Lime Street Station looks unfinished from works a few years ago and left in a 2nd rate state with only token facilities , and while Liverpool Central is very overcrowded on the Northern Line platforms and in need of an upgrade, the Secretary of State has allocated no funds for Liverpool, or maybe he`s not aware of it.

By Anonymous

Network Rail or (Even Greater British Rail) propaganda unit at work: as always ‘improvements/upgrades’ are only essential renewals of 50 year-old rails and signals. But wait: longer platforms, longer trains. Pure genius. Which millions-of-pounds transport consultant thought of that? Can I have their job?

By James Yates

Three of the top four busiest stations in the NW are in… Liverpool (ORR data 2020-1).
Looking forward to our round of funding but is anyone in leadership in Liverpool actually asking?

By LEighteen

It’s not true that zero is allocated to us in Liverpool. The line on the way out to Manchester is getting a polish.

By Jeff

So the remodelling of Oxford Road Station won’t be done until the mid 2030s??! What are passengers supposed to do until then? It’s already dangerously busy at peak time.

The amount of development work going on around Circle Square, River Street and the University means the station is only going to get busier. Commuters and residents are being punished for years of under investment in the railways in the North.

By Nick

Transpennine Express alone made £72m profit last year. Let them invest instead of tax payers.

By Bernard Fender

Liverpool Central (even before the new 50% higher-capacity trains arrive later on this year) is already at breaking point. Is there even a plan to accommodate this extra footfall?

By Neil

The Manchester station improvements are “all to be completed by the mid-2030s”. Why do infrastructure projects take so long in this country?

By Frank

The Burscough loops at Burscough Bridge need relaying with track to provide a link between Southport and the North and Ormskirk. We are cut off from the North, why cant some of this money be spent improving our communications?

By w.Jenkinson

These Liverpool comments miss the fact that this isn’t about Manchester its about congested infrastructure in Manchester being a bottleneck for the North as a whole.

By Rich X

Great, but where’s the funding for platforms 15/16 at Piccadilly? Are they actually bothered about removing that bottleneck?!

By Disgruntled Goat

The Manchester Piccadilly situation is dire on all fronts; instead of bits and pieces over x number of years, what is needed is a St Pancras-style re-build and re-modelling that will accomodate HS2, existing local services, through services, mainline services, freight, and Metrolink.

The capacity of the ‘new’ station should not be to try deal with today’s traffic, but with an eye to projected growth over the next fifty years or so.

Piccadilly being rebuilt properly will be of benefit far beyond Manchester, and it would help massively if the politics could be dropped – this is neither a ‘levelling-up’ issue, neither is it something the Mayor should be using to ‘fight the government’ – it’s too important.

Never mind HS2, we need a St Pancras 2.

By AltPoV

St Pancras cost over £800m and that was over 15 years ago, heard it so many times before “it`s essential to Manchester but will benefit everyone else in the North”, but almost anywhere can be turned into a vital hub if the national political backing is there.
Yes we need a massive uplift in transport standards everywhere outside of London but can we spread the money a bit more evenly.

By Anonymous

Meanwhile £18.6 billion gets spent on crossrail in London. So much for levelling up!

By Monty

Peanuts in the great scheme of things! So much for levelling up! What a joke!….

By Grumpy Old Git

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