TFGM has to find another £20m to extend platforms at Salford Central rail station to prepare for new services and longer trains as part of the Ordsall Chord work to increase capacity through Greater Manchester.
The extra cash is on top of £20.5m already allocated from the Growth Deal for Greater Manchester in March 2014. A review at the end of 2014 by Network Rail found that the emerging design for the Ordsall Chord would mean that Salford Central could only accommodate four-car trains. Transport for Greater Manchester had thought it would be able to serve six-car trains at the station but the final design for Ordsall Chord, which was still going through legal and planning challenges in 2014, meant changes to signalling and track position.
The new train operating franchises were awarded in April 2016 to Arriva Northern and First Group for the Northern and TransPennine networks. Both are expected to name new timetables in late 2017 or early 2018 and longer trains are anticipated.
The work needed at the station would extend platforms to New Bailey Street bridge and reopen disused lines.
TFGM chief executive Jon Lamonte said the options for getting the station up to standard “present operational, timetable and financial challenges”.
When the Ordsall Chord link between Victoria and Piccadilly stations opens next year more direct trains are expected to pass through the city centre to Manchester Airport.
The area surrounding the station is rapidly being redeveloped, largely by English Cities Fund at New Bailey and Chapel Street. Salford Central is also the closest station to Spinningfields and Old Granada Studios.
The funding source has yet to be decided but the money is expected to be found locally rather than nationally. Network Rail’s current budget is already fully committed.
Work on two of the platforms could be completed by the end of 2017, with full completion of station improvements in 2019.