North West train services given £17.8m

Michael Hunt

Transport Minister Chris Mole has announced that commuters in the North West are set to benefit from longer trains on peak services, following a £17.8m Government funding boost.

Eight extra carriages are being provided on Northern Rail routes serving Liverpool and Manchester providing capacity for over 1,000 more passengers coming into the cities in the morning peak.

Meanwhile, eight more carriages will be used to double the length of almost all services on East Midlands Trains services running into Manchester and Liverpool providing capacity for over 800 more passengers coming into the cities in the morning peak.

Chris Mole said today: "These extra 16 carriages will enable passengers on these routes to travel in greater comfort and ensure that this service keeps pace with the unprecedented growth in rail passengers.

"More people than ever in recent times are choosing to travel by train and it's vital we keep pace with this growth. We have pledged to introducing an extra 1,300 rail carriages onto the rail network and today's announcement is part of that commitment."

Ian Bevan, managing director of Northern Rail, added: "Over 85 million journeys are made on our services every year, an increase of 34% in just five years, which is why we've been working closely with the Department for Transport and other partners to introduce the much needed extra carriages that will enable us to provide a more comfortable journey for passengers."

David Horne, commercial director for East Midlands Trains, said: "This is fantastic news for our passengers and brings a successful conclusion to almost two years of partnership working with stakeholder groups along the route to secure these improvements.

"We have been determined to increase capacity on our busy Liverpool to Norwich route, a route which covers some 250 miles and serves cities with a combined population of more than 7 million people. The additional funding secured will allow us to provide over 1,500 extra seats on the route every day from 2011 and will go a long way to alleviating the current overcrowding on many services.

The additional carriages will come into service in May 2011.

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Unfortunately this is no more than sticking plaster. The Northern Rail trains are an absolute disgrace, dirty, old, uncomfortable and overcrowded. They need replacing not extending with more old carriages, even if this does help with the overcrowding. The infrastructure also needs modernising.

The Liverpool – Manchester service needs to be made into a point to point non-stop (or one stop – Warrington) service where there are dedicated trains going backwards and forwards. It’s useless having trains arriving in Manchester at peak times (from Norwich or Scarborough) which are already packed to capacity before they start their journey to Liverpool

By Paul

Would be nice, but I wouldn’t hold out any hope of securing the two additional Express tracks that this would require.

By Ewan

What about the class 156 units that Northern has to give to East Midlands Trains? Does one transfer cancel the other out? The eights carriages referred to in the ministerial statement will not go very far.

By trevor