Network Rail’s £530m vision can ‘boost’ Manchester

The Manchester branch of the Forum for the Built Environment said 90 members attended its networking event on Wednesday to discuss Network Rail's plans for a Northern Hub.

The morning event was held at The Freemasons Hall in Bridge Street in Manchester and included Duncan Law, who is a sponsor for the Northern Hub programme and leads on all activity within the Manchester area, as guest speaker.

Law introduced the project and discussed other key infrastructure issues facing Manchester's economic area as well as the potential benefits for local businesses.

Andrew Went, from the Government's high speed advisory body HS2, also presented a talk on the opportunities and challenges faced by FBE members and the wider Manchester business community in relation to the proposed High Speed Rail and Manchester.

FBE said it was clear that those in attendance wanted to hear about the process and timings for both consultation and construction timelines and it sparked interest in how members can get involved.

Phil Laycock, FBE president, said: "The Northern hub project, although still in development stage, is exciting news for Manchester. With the potential of creating 20-30,000 jobs it could be the boost that the city needs to reinvigorate business in the area. We look forward to hearing about the project's progress."

The Northern Hub would allow for faster, more frequent services across the north, with 700 more trains every day bringing more than £4bn of wider economic benefits to the region.

The £530m scheme could see six trains every hour between Manchester and Leeds, quicker journeys to Leeds and Liverpool and trains linking Victoria and Piccadilly stations.

A consultation on the Government's strategy for a 'Y shaped' high speed rail route is still ongoing.

Proposals for a Y shaped high speed rail network would reduce journey times from London to Birmingham to 49 minutes, and from London to Manchester and Leeds to around 80 minutes.

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