An exhibition roadshow of Network Rail's plans for the expansion of rail in the North, including BDP's design for the revamp of Manchester Victoria station, began on Friday.
Network Rail's consultation will see exhibitions held in stations, town halls and shopping centres in an effort to get as many people to comment as possible.
The exhibitions will display Network Rail's emerging plans for Ordsall Chord, a new short section of railway linking Manchester Victoria and Piccadilly stations, along with a wider vision for rail investment across the North – the Northern Hub. The event will also mark the launch of consultations for electrification and improvement proposals for Manchester Victoria station, which have been put together with Transport for Greater Manchester.
Thousands of members of the public are expected to attend the series of events which will run in Greater Manchester throughout October.
Graham Botham, Network Rail's programme sponsor for the Northern Hub, said: "Better connections between the towns and cities of the North are vital for the economy. We want to make it easier for people to get to work, do business, go shopping and visit friends and family. We want to share our vision with the public and look forward to hearing their views."
The consultation consists of four parts:
- The Ordsall Chord, a new piece of railway Network Rail wants to construct in central Manchester to link Piccadilly and Victoria stations and provide faster, more frequent services across the North. This was funded by the Chancellor in the 2010 Budget and is an Infrastructure Planning Commission pre application consultation.
- The Northern Hub, of which the Ordsall Chord is the first part, is Network Rail's plan to stimulate economic growth by upgrading the rail network across the North. Independent assessments estimate that it could deliver over £4bn of benefits and 20,000 to 30,000 new jobs for the North. More information on the Northern Hub is available at www.northernhub.co.uk
- Network Rail is electrifying key routes in the North West between Manchester, Liverpool, Blackpool and Preston. The government confirmed funding for this important investment in October 2010 and the work will help deliver a reliable railway, tackle overcrowding and reduce the cost of the railway. For more information please go to www.networkrail.co.uk
- Transforming Manchester Victoria station to a transport interchange that is safer, better and more spacious. Plans include a brand new state of the art roof, new and improved connections to MEN Arena, improvements to the ticket office, new shops and cafes and refurbished heritage features and station frontage (canopy and paving). In addition, there are plans for new platforms to accommodate faster, more frequent trains to Liverpool, Leeds and Manchester Airport as part of the Northern Hub and a number of proposed commercial developments next to the station. Transport for Greater Manchester, which runs Metrolink, plans to build two new platforms and additional track at the station.
The exhibition schedule in Greater Manchester is as follows:
- Friday 7 October: Museum of Science & Industry 15.00 – 19.00
- Saturday 8 October: Museum of Science & Industry 10.00 – 17.00
- Tuesday 11 October: Salford Central Station 07.00 – 09.30, 15.00 – 19.00
- Wednesday 12 October: Salford Civic Centre 14.00 – 20.00
- Thursday 13 October: Eccles Station 07.00 -13.00
- Friday 14 October: Manchester Victoria Station 07.00 – 09.30, 15.00 – 19.00
- Saturday 15 October: Manchester Victoria Station 10.00 – 18.00
- Wednesday 19 October: Manchester Piccadilly Station 07.00 – 09.30, 15.00 – 19.00
- Thursday 20 October: Manchester Town Hall (foyer) 14.00 – 20.00
- Friday 21 October: Arndale Centre, Manchester 10.00 – 18.00
- Saturday 22 October: Arndale Centre, Manchester 10.00 – 18.00
Details of the second, wider stage of consultation on electrification and Northern Hub will be announced shortly.