Ordsall ,Manchester.(Network Rail Image)
Train customers and taxpayers are today benefiting from the Great North Rail Project (GNRP), the largest upgrade since Victorian times – and there’s more to come between now and 2020.
Working together, Northern, TransPennine Express, Network Rail, Rail North, Rail Delivery Group and the Department for Transport are investing billions of pounds of improvements as part of Britain’s Railway Upgrade Plan to transform train travel across the north of England.
Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, which brings together train companies and Network Rail to improve the railway, said:
David Hoggarth, director of Rail North, speaking on behalf of all GNRP members, said:
By 2020, there will be over 2,000 extra services a week, 500 new carriages with space for 40,000 more passengers a day. Brand-new or completely refurbished trains will have better on-board entertainment and catering facilities, and all of the outdated Pacer trains will be gone.
And by 2022, almost 27,000 new jobs are forecasted to have been created in Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester, connecting people in the communities on the rail routes that serve them with new opportunities, according to the latest analysis by the Rail Delivery Group (RDG).
From December 2017, there will be extra services between Blackburn and Manchester, and between Bishop Auckland and Darlington, as well as improved Sunday services across the region. There will be more services from Cleethorpes to Manchester airport, too.
Next year, customers can look forward to improved journeys as upgrades between Manchester and Blackpool, via Bolton and Preston are completed. More improvements will follow in 2019 and 2020.
Other major GNRP schemes include the new Ordsall Chord which, from December 2017, will link Manchester’s main stations enabling new journeys across the north. Customers as far afield as Newcastle, Bradford and Rochdale, will benefit from faster, more frequent journeys to Manchester Airport.
Network Rail, Rail North and the Department for Transport are also developing options for significant upgrades to the Transpennine route between Manchester and York/Selby, to deliver better services for passengers. Options will be submitted to the Department for Transport in December this year. The Transpennine Route Upgrade aims to deliver faster, longer, more frequent and more reliable services across the north of England, from Newcastle, Hull and York towards Manchester and Liverpool via Leeds.
Further detail on GRNP improvements
There are significant upgrades taking place right across the region. From 2018, this includes, customers benefitting from more reliable services with more seats on the 43-mile stretch of railway from Manchester to Blackpool North stations, via Bolton, Chorley and Preston. Stations are being improved, including Liverpool Lime Street, which will be remodelled and enlarged by Autumn 2018, enabling more frequent services the following year to cater for greater passenger numbers forecast on Merseyside in the coming decades.
Line speed improvements, resulting in quicker journeys for customers, are also taking place on the Manchester to Stalybridge line, and further upgrades are being delivered across the Pennines. This includes improvements to the Calder Valley route to support more trains and more reliable services between Manchester and Bradford.
Since 2014, GNRP upgrades have cut the fastest journey between Liverpool and Manchester by 15 minutes; Manchester Victoria station has been transformed; new platforms have been built at Manchester Airport and Rochdale; and there are more trains per hour between Manchester and Leeds.
Thousands of extra seats on trains serving Britain’s major cities will better connect communities with new jobs in those cities in the next five years, now and for the long term, rail companies have promised. The RDG’s analysis was based on projections made by the economics consultancy, the Centre for Economics and Business Research.
Rail North co-manages the Northern and TransPennine Express franchises with the Department for Transport.