The station is located close to both New Bailey and Greengate. Credit: via archive

Salford Central expansion hits buffers 

The reinstatement of three platforms at the railway station in a bid to increase its capacity has been shelved due to “a lack of industry support”. 

A report to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s transport committee said that discussions over the proposed expansion of Salford Central had failed after the rail industry pushed back on the scheme. 

Stakeholders including the Department for Transport, Network Rail, Northern Trains and Transpennine Express, told Manchester’s Recovery Taskforce that the project was “unacceptable to the rail industry”. 

The stakeholders cited the operational impact of reinstating the platforms as a reason for its recommendations. 

In addition, the rail industry believes that reopening platforms three, four, and five – which have not been used since the 1990s – would not work because of the platform lengths, “which won’t allow for future proposed train fleet to stop”, according to Transport for Greater Manchester.

TfGM had been leading the additional platforms project. However, any future work around expanding the station’s capacity will be the responsibility of the rail industry, it is understood.

A report to the GMCA earlier this year said the project could have begun in 2024 if TfGM had received the relevant approvals from the rail industry. 

While the expansion project has hit the buffers, another element of the upgrade of Salford Central will still go ahead. 

The station will be closed from January to May next year for a £7.3m package of works that includes reducing the gap between trains and the platform edges.

Salford Central is located in an area undergoing significant transformation. English Cities Fund’s New Bailey office development and the Greengate residential quarter are both within easy walking distance.

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Disappointed. Radical changes are needed and this government will deliver on none of them.

By Robert Fuller

Another example of rail in the North not being a priority for the central powers, in the same way as Salford we have Central Station in Liverpool ,which has suffered from overcrowding for a number of years now but with no progress at all in this being resolved either by way of expansion or siting another underground station within the city centre itself.
It really frustrates when you travel abroad eg Spain and see even medium sized cities with fantastic rail and urban tranport systems, while we seem like light years behind.

By Anonymous

If this was London it would have been built 5 years ago and have an Overground service stopping there every 5 minutes. Unacceptable!

By NewBaileyResident

Shortsighted rail industry, no wonder we have a 3rd world public transport system.

By Anonymous

Levelling down again

By Anonymous

They overspent on Bond Street station by 500 million pounds. When you realise that that was an overspend on one station, it makes you realise what we are up against. The workforce around Salford Central in 5 years will be the size of a medium sized town.

By Elephant

Westminster hates the north, time for a Northern Republic.

By Loganberry

How shortsighted and ridiculous! Sounds like the tail wags the dog here. Improved public transport is vital and with the increase in residential property in the area, capacity will need to be increased

By Bernard Fender

Totally agree with all of the previous comments. Time for more powers for the North, out PT is a joke.

By Bob

1) Given that the train operators are merely (not) running timetables dictated by the DfT, their view should be of lesser consideration.
2) As most trains seem to wait outside Manchester Victoria anyway, a station stop at Salford Central would make sense.
3) The additional platform capacity would surely enable terminating trains from the East to extend from Victoria, thereby releasing platform space at Victoria.
The additional platforms at Salford Central would allow trains from Liverpool and Chester/Warrington to call – a useful expansion for the local area.
This is a hugely shortsighted decision.

By Prescotian

Blame the Ordsall Chord for this one. For once it’s not other cities paying the price for it. You can’t stop more trains at Salford Central without amplifying the needless problems that have been introduced.

By Jeff

Stakeholders said “unacceptable to the rail industry” – what is unacceptable is the stakeholders lack of reasoning and suggested solutions to whatever they perceive are the problems with the project.
Yet another snub from Central Government, which demonstrates their complete disregard for levelling up!

By Anon

I’d argue expansion at Salford Crescent is more important anyway!
Crescent is the gateway to both Victoria and Piccadilly lines, and there are regular delays due to platforms being occupied.
It’ll still never happen as the powers that be care nothing for the North, but if there are funds to be spend on local stations, the expansion of Crescent should take priority.

By The Wiganer

We were all set to add those platforms as part of Ordsall Chord project. There were plans for a fancy overall glass canopy roof etc but somehow the political will and funding just didn’t happen.

By Anonymous

Relatively miniscule amounts of cash, that will make a big difference to railways outside of London, are not forthcoming. Whitehall staff have the benefit of a very good public transport system, but they have no interest in giving the rest of the nation a similar standard. The London Centric mentality means the rest of the country is years behind in the transport system we are afforded.

By Stockport Dave

Ridiculous. Get the extra platforms built.

By Dr B

This demonstrates a lack of leadership from TfGM, TfN, and wider government. Why are the ‘rail industry’ making this decision? I wouldn’t trust Northern Trains, or any of the others, to do anything. Their track record is evident to all!

By Digbuth O'Hooligan

Ah the good old Tory lie of ” levelling up” or ” Northern Powerhouse
In the South they get money, whilst in the North we get empty promises

By Steve

Salford Central is one of the least used stops whenever I travel into and out of Manchester. At least someone has the good sense to realise when money spent is not good value.

By Dan Earl

Absolutely the right decision……only 2 platforms needed here.

By Anonymous

This station will be closed for several months for station and platform say the new posters at Salford Central Station..So does anyone have any idea what is actually going to happen here.

By Anonymous

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