People in the North West could see journey times between Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool slashed after the Government backed a five year plan to provide faster, more frequent trains across the Pennines.
Network Rail has welcomed today’s announcement from the Chancellor that funding has been brought forward for work to develop the Orsdall Chord, a crucial part of the Northern Hub programme. This could allow for faster more, more frequent trains between Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds by the end of 2016.
One assessment of the Northern Hub plans suggested that as many as 23,000 jobs could be created across the North – with an extra 700 trains every day helping to stimulate £4.2bn of benefits to the economy of the North.
The Ordsall Chord, a new piece of railway in Manchester connecting Piccadilly and Victoria stations, could see all fast trans Pennine services going via Manchester Victoria station – a much quicker route – as soon as 2016. It would also mean more fast trains could run – as many as six trains per hour between Leeds and Manchester.
Graham Botham, Network Rail’s programme sponsor, said: “We are delighted with the funding announcement from the Chancellor today, which will allow Network Rail to bring forward work to develop a stage of development of the Northern Hub plans.
“The Northern Hub will help deliver faster, more frequent journeys between Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds and stimulate economic growth across the North.”