New track and a rail flyover will be built in greater Manchester to de-clutter bottlenecks in the city and improve cross-city journeys, according to £530M Network Rail plans.
The Manchester ‘hub’ concept will adopt the ‘Ordsall Package’ solution, one of two examined by consultants Steer Davies Gleave for Northern Way in 2007.
The new infrastructure will eliminate bottlenecks in and around Manchester, and allow quicker services all over the North. Network Rail plans a 40% increase in trains per day across the region - as many as 3.5M additional passengers per year, and more frequent services to Newcastle, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield.
Network Rail chief executive Iain Coucher, said: “Rail is already a massive success story in the north with many thousands of people travelling with us every day and more than 90% of services arriving on time.
“Through better connections, faster services and improved stations we want to trigger wider growth in the north which in turn will support local jobs and businesses.
“Our ambitious vision includes miles of track, new platforms and electrification to keep driving up passenger demand while keeping freight on the rails – and lorries off of our already congested roads,” he said.
According to the 2007 report, “This package seeks to reduce conflicts in the Piccadilly throat by re-routing trains that cross it. It therefore is premised on the pattern of movements changing. It allows for new routes to cross Manchester and access the Airport. The alternative approach therefore to the Manchester Hub would be to adopt a package of infrastructure measures built around the construction of the Ordsall Curve [to link Salford with Deansgate].
“Additional benefits could be gained by the construction of a flyover (the Ordsall Flyover) to reduce further conflicting movements in the west of the Manchester Hub,” it read.
Passenger Focus welcomed the proposals, their rail director Ashwin Kumar said: “Passengers will welcome this as a step towards alleviating overcrowding and speeding up journeys in the north of England.
“The railway is getting busier and passengers are telling us that many services into Manchester and Leeds are seriously overcrowded. On some trains it is difficult to get on, let alone get a seat. Passengers also express frustration with slow journey times, for example between Liverpool and Manchester. These proposals, if funded and delivered, should help to alleviate these problems.”
Network Rail said it would continue to work with the rail industry and stakeholders to develop the plan and win funding for the proposals to be implemented from 2014.
The Ordsall improvements:
- Trains between Manchester Airport and Leeds, Newcastle, Bradford, Rochdale and elsewhere across the North will not need to reverse at Manchester Piccadilly
- Trains will be able to stop at all three of the main central Manchester stations: Piccadilly, Oxford Road and Victoria
- New rail connections will be made possible, for example between Bradford, Halifax and the Calder Valley and Manchester Airport
- Major improvements to Manchester Victoria to restore it to its former glory. It would become a major interchange station for the North, with vastly improved facilities for passengers
- New platforms at stations such as Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Airport and Rochdale
- Building new tracks between Leeds and Manchester; Sheffield andManchester; and Liverpool and Manchester will allow fast trains to overtake stopping services.