Network Rail will unveil its latest plans on Monday that form part of the Northern Hub rail expansion through Manchester.
The scheme includes options to install two extra platforms at Manchester Piccadilly, next to platform 14, and widening the railway viaduct into Oxford Road station. This would enable more trains to travel through central Manchester, including:
- increase from 10 to 14 passenger trains an hour in each direction
- extra path for freight trains, from one to two trains an hour
- consistent 30mph speed through the city centre
Network Rail has drawn up alignment options for the new sections of railway and will be asking people for feedback on the emerging ideas. The comments received from the public will help inform the detail of the plans.
The plans will be available to view on www.networkrail.co.uk/oxpicc. If the scheme is approved, work will start in 2016 and trains are expected to run on the new track in December 2018.
The latest plans are on view at the following times and locations:
Arch 68, Whitworth Street West, Manchester
- Monday 15 July to Thursday 18 July, 2-8pm
- Friday 19 July, 2-6pm
- Saturday 20 July, 10am-4pm
- The consultation suite in Arch 68 will also be open on Wednesday 24 and 31 July between 4-7pm
Main concourse, Piccadilly Station
- Wednesday 17 July to Friday 19 July, 7.30-11am
Dyan Crowther, Network Rail's route managing director, said: "The Northern Hub is an important investment programme for the North of England. It will create space for up for 700 more trains every day and help provide over £4bn worth of wider economic benefits for the region. The plans for Manchester Piccadilly and Oxford Road stations are a key part of the Hub and we look forward to working with stakeholders and the local community to develop the proposals."
Cllr Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: "The Northern Hub will bring massive improvements to rail services across the North West and support the economy of the city, the wider region and indeed the whole of northern England with an estimated 20,000 – 30,000 new jobs and £4bn of additional benefits.
"However, due to the sheer scale of this project, it will inevitably have some impact on the city centre, and we are working closely with Network Rail, as well as with residents and businesses, to make sure that any disturbance will be kept to a minimum. While the Northern Hub project is a vital piece of infrastructure bringing many benefits, it's also vital that the city centre continues to function during its construction."
Network Rail will assess the consultation feedback before progressing the plans. A second round of consultation is expected to take place later this year.