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£500M Manchester 'hub' plans expected

Network Rail is expected to announce a £500M package to create a transport ‘hub’ in Manchester.

The ‘hub’ idea has been the subject of several years work.

Speaking in 2007, Chair of the Northern Way Steering Group Neville Chamberlain explained the need for the ‘hub’.

“The Hub is the most damaging rail bottleneck in the North. It impacts on passenger services that cross and link Manchester with the North East, Yorkshire, Liverpool and Central Lancashire and it constrains the movement of freight out of the North’s ports as well.”

The scheme would remove these bottlenecks and ease congestion around Manchester.

Two solutions to bottlenecks have been proposed:

The ‘Ardwick Package’ would: “Reduce conflicts in the Piccadilly throat and provide for additional train paths in and out of the main train shed by providing grade separation on the Piccadilly approach and additional platform capacity,” according to a Steer Davies Gleave study published in 2007.

This would involve building a new flyover and two extra platforms at Manchester Piccadilly.

Alternatively, the ‘Ordsall Package’ solution would: “Reduce conflicts in the Piccadilly throat by re-routeing trains
that cross it. It therefore is premised on the pattern of movements changing,” according to the study.

This solution would involve the construction of a new flyover and additional piece of track, the ‘Ordsall Curve’, which would: “consist of a short length of track crossing the River Irwell, immediately east of the Ordsall Flyover which could also be built to remove the conflict between Bolton-Salford Crescent-Deansgate-Manchester Piccadilly and Liverpool-Eccles-Salford Central and Manchester Victoria routes. This flyover would also enable freight movements between Merseyside and Warrington and the North East to be separated from other traffic.”

Each of the solutions cost between £250M-£270M in 2007.

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