Train reliability in and around Manchester will “significantly improve” from May 2022, according to the Department for Transport (DfT).
A consultation has been launched on three options to amend timetables in a bid to boost performance and punctuality.
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Each choice has been designed to reduce the risk of knock-on delays when a train is held up, although some services will be axed.
Until the COVID-19 pandemic led to a collapse in demand for travel, services around Manchester were regularly disrupted, created further delays across the North.
One of the options would boost the frequency of services from Nottingham to Liverpool via Sheffield to two trains per hour, but stop through trains from Sheffield to Manchester Airport.
The DfT stated: “The agreed option, scheduled to be introduced in May 2022, will significantly improve overall reliability whilst maintaining the pre-Covid travel connections for the vast majority of passengers.”
The process is being conducted by the DfT, strategic transport body Transport for the North, Network Rail and train operators Northern and TransPennine Express.
Rail minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “We are putting the power to improve Manchester’s rail network in the hands of those that use it daily.
“I urge passengers to use this opportunity to comment on the future of your railway.
“Improving punctuality and reliability is one of my key priorities. As we continue to build back better from the pandemic, these proposals will ensure that the rail network is more dependable for those who use it every day.”
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “I welcome this consultation and the Government’s focus on this issue.
“The bottleneck in central Manchester is a problem for the whole of the North – and solving these congestion issues will improve the reliability of rail services for passengers right across the North.
“As we look to build back better from the pandemic, we want to work with the Government to deliver a reliable and dependable timetable, alongside the much-needed upgrades to our Victorian infrastructure.”
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