Northern Hub rail project to speed-up journey times is to start

WORK on the £600m Northern Hub rail project, which promises to speed-up journey times between Liverpool, Manchester, Yorkshire and the North East, are set to start.

Chancellor George Osborne was attending a launch event at Manchester Airport’s train station this morning, where he will showcase the economic benefits of the project, which is set to create up to 20,000 jobs and boost the northern economy by billions of pounds.

Network Rail estimate the wider economic benefit to the region will be worth £4bn, as well as providing significant long-term benefits to passengers by increasing capacity and cutting journey times.

The improvements include electrifying existing lines as well as providing major upgrades to the network in and around Manchester. When completed in 2019 the upgrades will allow up to 700 more trains to run each day, providing space for 44 million passengers to the area a year.

Mr Osborne, will  say: “Each part of this project, like the first work at Manchester Airport station that I’ve kicked off today, will help us build the infrastructure we need to compete in the global race.

“This investment will ensure growth is not concentrated in any one place by keeping Britain connected and creating thousands of local jobs, delivering a brighter economic future for the whole country.”

The Chancellor will see the beginning of works, including the construction of a new platform,  forming a £20m investment to improve the rail link and station at Manchester airport.

Benefits to rail passengers are set to include:

• Faster journey times to Sheffield and the East Midlands, Chester, Bradford, Halifax, Hull, Newcastle and the North East.

• Electric trains will start operating between Manchester Victoria and Liverpool in December with faster journey times, cutting 10-15 minutes off the existing journey time.

• By December 2016 there will be two extra trains an hour between Liverpool and Manchester and six trains an hour over the Pennines to Leeds and beyond with the potential to reduce journey times between Leeds and Manchester by around 10 minutes.

• The opening of the Ordsall Chord in December 2016 will allow a tranformation of rail services across Manchester – more services will be routed via Victoria instead of the congested Piccadilly. For the first time, direct services from Bradford, Halifax and Rochdale to the airport will be introduced.