Network Rail sets out five-year investment plan for Britain's railway for the



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Originally updated: 12 July 2013

Network Rail's plans for faster, more frequent services across the North

Network Rail is exploring options

to improve the railway around Manchester Piccadilly and Oxford Road stations

as part of the Northern Hub – a programme of investment to deliver


faster, more frequent services across the North of England


and stimulate economic growth by better connecting towns and cities.


The plans were unveiled to city-wide stakeholders this week ahead of public consultation.


Click below for consultation details



The scheme includes options to install two new platforms at Manchester Piccadilly,

adjacent to the existing platform 14,


and widening the railway corridor around Oxford Road station.


This would enable more trains to travel through Central Manchester, including:

- An increase from 10 to 14 passenger trains per hour in each direction

- An extra path for freight trains, from 1 to 2 trains per hour

- A consistent 30 mph speed through the city centre



Artist's Impression of Oxford Road Station - Plan A

Network Rail has drawn up alignment options for the new sections of railway

and will be asking people for feedback on the emerging ideas.


The comments received from the public will help inform the detail of the plans.


Dyan Crowther, Network Rail's route managing director, said:


“The Northern Hub is an important investment programme for the North of England.

It will create space for up for 700 more trains every day

and help provide over £4bn worth of wider economic benefits for the region.


The plans for Manchester Piccadilly and Oxford Road stations are a key part of the Hub

and we look forward to working with stakeholders and the local community to develop the proposals.”

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said:


"The Northern Hub will bring massive improvements

to rail services across the North West and support the economy of the city,

the wider region and indeed the whole of northern England

with an estimated 20,000 - 30,000 new jobs and £4bn of additional benefits.

“However, due to the sheer scale of this project, it will inevitably have some impact on the city centre,

and we are working closely with Network Rail, as well as with residents and businesses,

to make sure that any disturbance will be kept to a minimum.


While the Northern Hub project is a vital piece of infrastructure bringing many benefits,

it's also vital that the city centre continues to function during its construction."

Emma Antrobus, policy manager at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce said:


“We are delighted to see the specific projects within the Northern Hub scheme

being consulted on more quickly than expected,

after we have campaigned so hard for the scheme to be delivered.


The improvements on the Hub will provide a boost to the economy of the

whole of the North of England and particularly for Manchester,

offering more trains and faster services into and out of the centre, connecting people and jobs.”


Network Rail will assess the consultation feedback before progressing the plans.

A second round of consultation is expected to take place later this year.

The plans will be available to view on .


If the scheme is approved, work will start in 2016

and trains are expected to run on the new track in December 2018.


As part of out plan to deliver faster, more frequent services across the north – the Northern Hub

– we need to widen the railway viaduct around Oxford Road station and install new platforms at Manchester Piccadilly.






CGI of how the new line could look


A £1bn plus investment in the North West rail infrastructure, providing new tracks and electrification to meet the growing demand for rail transport in the North West.

Network Rail today committed to continuing the biggest investment in infrastructure since the Victorian era,

reducing costs and delivering more passengers on time than ever before –

but also warned that tough choices need to be made if the industry is to meet these competing challenges and respond to ever rising demand from passengers.


Network Rail's strategic business plan, which has been submitted to the Office of Rail Regulation, sets out proposals

which will help drive Britain's economy and make its railway as efficient as the best in Europe.

The strategic business plan covers the period from 2014 to 2019 (known as control period five, or CP5)

and includes detailed plans for each of Britain's ten strategic rail routes.


The London North Western route makes up a quarter of the national rail network and includes the West Coast Main Line,

the busiest mixed-use railway line in Europe connecting London with Scotland

via the West Midlands and the north-west of England.


To meet the challenge of increasing demand, Network Rail and its industry partners will deliver a

programme of electrification, signalling upgrades, new tracks and longer trains over the 2014-19 period

to provide the capacity needed to cope with continued demand from passengers.


However, even this will not be enough on the busy West Coast Main Line,

where the added capacity that HS2 will provide is essential both for the future of the railway and the economic prosperity of the country.



Dyan Crowther, Network Rail's managing director for the LNW route, said:


“Our route plan sets out the investment we are making for the future,

with a particular focus on new technology and electrification to help create a bigger, better railway in the North West.


“In just seven years time we will have dramatically improved rail travel between the key towns and cities of the North West,

enabling the provision of more trains and more seats to help drive economic growth.


“However, as our route gets busier our challenges get bigger and more complex.

Despite these plans, in less than a decade the busiest parts of the West Coast Main Line will be full as passenger numbers will keep on growing.


One thing is absolutely clear – when it comes to HS2, the question is not ‘Should it be built?' but ‘How quickly can it be built?'”



Some of the key projects proposed to improve the railway include:


Northern Hub

The Northern Hub will stimulate economic growth by

enabling faster, more frequent trains to better connect the region's towns and cities.


Through a series of targeted upgrades scheduled for completion within CP5,

the Hub will create space for up to 700 more trains a day,

return £4 to the regional economy for every £1 spent and potentially create 20,000-30,000 new jobs.


North West Electrification


A £400 million programme that will enable electric operation of rail services

between Manchester, Liverpool, Preston and Blackpool by December 2016.

Other benefits include improved services between the North West and Scotland,

post electrification of Ardwick depot and the line from Manchester to the West Coast Main Line at Golborne

(and later via Bolton and Chorley),


TransPennine Express will operate an hourly four-carriage service

with high peak services strengthened where possible.


North TransPennine Electrification


A £300 million programme to be completed by December 2018.

This will contribute to shorter journey times, provide additional capacity between Manchester and Leeds via Huddersfield

and ultimately, enable reduced operating costs.


    These three programmes combined will enable improved capacity, performance and rail services across the North of England


Stafford area improvements


A £255 million package of works including line speed improvements

between Crewe and Norton Bridge (north of Stafford);

resignalling works and the provision of a new freight loop at Stafford;

the construction of a new flyover at Norton Bridge,

subject to a development consent order with public consultation ongoing.

On completion, the works will remove a key bottleneck on the network

and provide faster, more frequent services for passengers with improved reliability.


Network Rail's plans for Britain's railway will benefit millions of passengers in England, Wales and Scotland.



Welcoming the investment, Emma Antrobus, Transport Policy Manager at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce said:


“We are delighted to see the scale of investment planned for projects in the North West,

"providing a transformation of rail services for Greater Manchester.

"In particular, the commitment to the Northern Hub is a great bonus as we have lobbied hard,

"alongside Network Rail and other partners for the Northern Hub for almost a decade for this project.


"Rail improvements are vital to supporting the economies of the major cities of the North

"and it is important to deliver for the short to medium term with the Hub and electrification,

"as well as having the vision for the long term

"with the plans for HS2 to address the capacity issues on the WCML.”


CGI of Manchester Victoria

How it may look


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CGI of Birmingham New Street

How the exterior may look


Bromsgrove and Redditch Cross City service extensions

A £65m programme of works to electrify the southern end of the Cross City Line

between Barnt Green and Bromsgrove.


In addition, a new section of line is being delivered between Alvechurch and Redditch,

with a second platform and footbridge at Alvechurch station.


These schemes will enable an increase in services from two to three trains per hour

between Redditch, Bromsgrove and Birmingham New Street.

To facilitate this, Bromsgrove Station will also be relocated.


Coventry to Nuneaton upgrade

Network Rail is working with Coventry City Council, Warwickshire County Council and Centro

on their plans to provide two new stations and an extra train per hour on the line.

The project is due for completion in 2014.


Electric Spine

This is the electrification and delivery of new tracks on the line between Coventry and Leamington

as part of a strategy to create a high capacity, electric passenger and freight corridor between Southampton and the Midlands.

This will improve accessibility to Birmingham Airport; we are also working with partners to maximise the benefits of improvements

on the route between Coventry and Leamington.


Walsall to Rugeley electrification

This is a key component of the DfT's High Level Output Statement,

which recognises the scheme's regional and strategic value

including that of increased commuter demand into Birmingham.


Birmingham New Street Redevelopment

A £600m project to transform New Street station into a modern, welcoming, accessible gateway to the city

alongside the Grand Central and John Lewis retail development.


The first part of the new concourse will open in April 2013, Grand Central

will open in Autumn 2014 with the entire project completed in 2015.


Further details will be found by clicking here



By 2019, the plan set out today will deliver a railway that:


Moves 225m more passengers per year and carries 355,000 more trains – the highest numbers ever seen on Britain's railways


Provides 20% extra morning peak seats into Central London and 32% into large regional cities in England and Wales

Delivers a step change in connectivity between regional centres e.g. 700 more trains a day linking key northern cities

and a ten minute reduction in journey time between Manchester and Leeds


Carries 30% more freight than today

Maintains record levels of performance, with expected PPM (public performance measure)

of 92.5 per cent by the end of CP5


Is future-proofing critical infrastructure such as 30,000 bridges, embankments and tunnels

against the impact of changing weather patterns, including flooding.


Has cut CO 2 emissions per passenger by 37%

– the equivalent of one million lorries off of our congested roads

– and has hundreds of miles more electrified railway


Is the safest in Europe, reducing risk at level crossings by 8% in CP5

Continues to modernise antiquated signalling equipment as part of a plan to move away

from over 800 signal boxes to 14 major operations centres,

allowing us to run more trains closer together, safely and reliably.


Is more efficient, reducing the cost of running Britain's railways by a further 18%

and cutting annual public subsidy to between £2.6bn and £2.9bn in 2019

– down from £4.5bn in 2009 and £7bn in 2004.




20 November 2012



The first part of the Northern Hub programme will help ease a rail bottleneck

to the south of Piccadilly station

and enable more trains to travel through Manchester Victoria.


This will help free up space on the network to deliver faster, more frequent services, including:


Two new fast trains per hour between Manchester Victoria and Liverpool

Six fast trains, instead of four, an hour between Leeds and Manchester

Faster journeys between Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool

A new direct service through Manchester city centre to Manchester Airport

Faster journey times to Hull, Newcastle and the North East


Network Rail has appointed a team of experts to progress the design of the Ordsall Chord.

Two potential bridge options have been unveiled for consultation, including a bow string railway arch and an alternative flat bridge.

The feedback from the public will be passed onto to the design panel and used to inform the plans.


Dyan Crowther, Network Rail's route managing director, said:

“Britain relies on rail and with demand for rail travel increasing

it's essential we invest in the railway to provide a better service for passengers

with more trains, additional seats and fewer delays.


“We thank those who have already made a valuable contribution to the development of this vital project.

Feedback from last year's consultation suggests that the overwhelming majority of people support our plans

to deliver faster, more frequent services across the North and helping stimulate low carbon economic growth.”


"The plans were first released for consultation last year

and feedback showed around 84% of respondents felt

it was important to connect Manchester's key railway stations.


"Network Rail has now developed more detailed plans

and is asking for feedback

before submitting an application to the Planning Inspectorate next summer.


The plans are available to view on .


If the scheme is approved, work will start in late 2014

and is expected to be completed in late 2016.



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xxxxxxxxxxxxx 13 November 2012  

Network Rail to consult on plans to improve

Manchester's Railways


Above & Below:

CGI of two possible designs for the Ordsall Chord bridge over the River Irwell, on the Salford/Manchester border


The proposals, which form part of Network Rail's plan to improve railways across the north,

will be showcased in a series of exhibitions across Manchester and Salford.


Known as the Ordsall Chord, the new piece of track will help make rail travel across the region faster and more frequent,

and could also help to boost the economy by £4.2bn and create 20,000 – 30,000 extra jobs throughout the area.


Located to the north west of Castlefield Junction, and crossing the River Irwell between Salford and Manchester,

the new chord will free up space on the network for faster, more frequent services, including:


- Two new fast trains per hour between Manchester Victoria and Liverpool

- Six fast trains an hour between Leeds and Manchester

- A new direct train through Manchester to the airport

- Faster journey times to Hull, Newcastle and the North East


Jo Kaye, Network Rail route managing director said:


“The Ordsall Chord is the first part of our wider plan to bring a better railway to the north of England.

"Our proposals will help the economy, making it easier for people to travel

"between the towns and cities of the North as a result of greatly improved connections across the region.


"We are keen to talk to people about the progress we have made on the scheme

"and are looking forward to hearing their views.”


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  Back in time to 1842 . . .  

Based on an extract from

Bradshaw's Railway Companion of 1842



'Engineering Work at Ordsall Lane'


Due to the pending closure of

Manchester Liverpool Road Station

on 4 May 1844


the services below may be subject to alteration



1842 Railway Map (Original)


Timetables & Map

Courtesy John Taylor

Hesketh Bank, Preston

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