Hunter hails £400m Northern Rail Hub announcement

North West MP and former Lib Dem Transport Spokesperson Mark Hunter has welcomed today’s announcement that, as part of the Coalition Government’s announced £9 billion extra investment in UK rail infrastructure, the Northern Hub will benefit from an extra £400m worth of investment.

The so-called “Northern Hub” project, which was already set to benefit to the tune of £120m from Coalition funding, includes various improvements to rail services “radiating” from Manchester, in and between cities in the North of England. Improvements given the green light today include:

  • A new island platform (platforms 15 and 16) on the through lines at Manchester Piccadilly, and extra tracks between Manchester Piccadilly and Oxford Road stations. This will increase the number of passenger and freight trains that can use the Castlefield Corridor.
  • Extra capacity on the Chat Moss route between Liverpool and Manchester.
  • An extra platform at Manchester Airport Station
  • A new facility at Rochdaleto enable more local trains to terminate at the station.
  • Platform extensions at various stations to accommodate some longer peak trains.

This is on top of previous announcements:

  • The March 2011 Budget Statement gave the go-ahead to the first major element: the construction of the Ordsall Chord in Manchester;
  • The Autumn Statement 2011 gave the go-ahead to electrification of the North Trans Pennine route between Manchester and York.
  • The March 2012 Budget Statement provided funding to Network Rail to increase capacity on the Hope Valley Line between Manchester and Sheffield and to increase line speeds on the lines between Manchester and Sheffield, Manchester and Bradford and Manchester and Preston.

Previously a Shadow Lib Dem Transport Minister, Mr Hunter has been a long time supporter of the advancement of the Northern Hub project. Indeed, last Autumn he spoke forcefully in its favour at the Annual Greater Manchester Transport event at Liberal Democrat Conference.

Commenting, Mark said:

“I am delighted that the Coalition Government have been able to dig deep to find an extra £400m for this key rail project.

“Many people, including myself, speak of the need for the High Speed Rail project to come to Manchester, enhancing our connection with the Capital and Birmingham.

“However not as many people are aware of the “Northern Hub” project – which will be of huge benefit to the North, which will create millions of extra journeys each year and free up space on trains, delivering huge benefits right across the North of England.

“It is always pleasing to see investment in our Northern cities, and I look forward to seeing the smooth implementation of the Northern Hub.”