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Northern Programmes: plans unveiled to transform rail travel in north of England

14 November 2016  •  Author: Katie Sadler, Digital Content Producer, European Railway Review

Network Rail, has announced a number of investment projects designed to transform rail travel in the north of England as part of the Northern Programmes.

Northern Programmes: plans unveiled to transform rail travel in north of England

Ordsall Chord project in Manchester

Network Rail, supported by operators TransPennine Express (TPE) and Northern, has unveiled a number of programmes delivered in phases which will enable the quick deployment of a series of major improvements to services.

According to Network Rail, the Northern Programmes will transform rail transport in the north delivering more trains with more spaces to more towns and cities. The series of improvements will deliver improved services, including electric trains with more space for customers running between Manchester and Preston via Bolton.

There will also be new direct services to Manchester Airport from across the north enabled by the Ordsall Chord, a new rail link connecting Manchester’s three main stations, Victoria, Piccadilly and Oxford Road, for the first time, as well as new connections into Manchester from the Calder Valley.

Martin Frobisher, Network Rail’s London North Western route MD, said: “Rail investment in the north is at its highest level right now since tracks were first laid in the 1800s.

“Already customers in the north are benefitting from faster, more frequent, more reliable trains services. And there is a host of further improvements still to come. Seeing the economy-boosting Northern Programmes unfold is really exciting.”

Planned Northern Programmes

Further service improvements are planned for 2018, these include:

  • an hourly direct service from Newcastle to Manchester Airport, providing an extra service per hour between Leeds and Newcastle
  • six trains per hour between Manchester Victoria and Rochdale
  • frequency and capacity improvements across the Northern network
  • a ‘weekday service’ seven days a week for TransPennine Express, more than double existing capacity on Sundays

Alex Hynes, Managing Director for Northern added: “This programme will deliver transformational improvements to the services we offer our customers. The phased approach will enable us to launch new services, such as new direct routes into Manchester, as infrastructure upgrades are delivered.”

Leo Goodwin, Managing Director for TransPennine Express commented: “Investment in our railway is vital to improving the North’s connectivity, bringing our towns and cities closer and in turn improving our customer’s journeys with us.  These improvements will help to provide additional and faster services, transforming rail travel across the North and into Scotland.”

Rail North Director David Hoggarth said: “The Northern Programmes represents the start of a transformation of rail services across the north. Both Rail North and Transport for the North are clear that this type of long term investment in transport is exactly what is needed to drive economic growth.  In a project of this scale, there will be challenges, but the rewards this project will bring will last for generations to come.”

2 responses to “Northern Programmes: plans unveiled to transform rail travel in north of England”

  1. Robert A Parker says:

    Why do the further service improvements planned for 2018 include six trains per hour between Manchester Victoria and Rochdale when there are already five Metro services an hour from Victoria to Rochdale.

    When there is a shortage of stock, it seems rather a waste of resources.

    Regards

    Robert Parker

  2. Tim Blackwell says:

    “Already customers in the north are benefitting from faster, more frequent, more reliable trains services.”

    Ha ha. I don’t know about more frequent trains, but they certainly haven’t kept up with demand. The population has increased massively. Trains are like cattle cars. Four of the top ten most overcrowded services in the country are in Manchester.

    Transpennine are a joke. Delays and cancellations are commonplace. Northern have extended their peak times to get round limits on fare increases. Ever since privatisation the rail service in the North-West and around the UK has got worse and worse. We’re the laughing stock of Europe. I have no faith that these measures will solve any of these problems.

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