£84m funding to boost train services in North West

An £84 million funding package to make trains in north-west England more reliable has been unveiled by the Government.

The money will be used to pay for infrastructure upgrades such as track improvements, platform extensions for longer trains and larger depots across the region.

Passenger facilities will be enhanced at Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Victoria and Manchester Airport stations.

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The funding will also allow re-signalling along the city’s notoriously congested Castlefield Corridor, and remodelling of Manchester Oxford Road station.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “This £84 million investment will make trains more reliable for the people of Manchester and beyond, and kicks off a decade’s worth of improvements across the region.

“The Transpennine Route Upgrade, the Integrated Rail Plan and Northern Powerhouse Rail will transform the lives of passengers across the region for generations to come.

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“As we level up the country, we’re determined to use rail to boost local economies, create greener journeys and change lives for the better.”

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham described the “lack of investment in rail over the past decade” in the region as “a drag on realising our ambition”.

A “reliable and dependable railway which provides a high-quality travelling experience” connecting major northern cities is “an important ingredient for the long-term success of our city-region and the wider area”, he said.

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“Today’s announcement is a welcome step forward and I look forward to continuing to work with Government and the industry.

“This is just the start of the infrastructure investment needed.

“We need to push on with a comprehensive package of improvements which will help to secure a successful future for rail travel in our region for generations to come.”

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A controversial new rail timetable is planned for Manchester from December.

Mr Burnham has previously warned it will lead to many passengers “standing up all the way” between Manchester and Leeds due to a lack of seats.

The Department for Transport insists the new timetable will provide “more punctual, reliable journeys for passengers”.

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Shannon Butcher