Manchester and northern train services receive ?72m from …

Trains Train services in Manchester and the north are set to be upgraded after the government announced its backing of £72 million. Henry Nicholls/Reuters

The government has just announced plans to invent st £72 million to improve train services in one of Britain's biggest cities, Manchester, and other northern territories. Passengers travelling will endure a much more peaceful and pleasant journey in these areas as more reliable trains will be available and there will be fewer delays.

Rail Minister, Huw Merriman, announced Manchester Victoria Station is set to receive four infrastructure upgrades that will benefit the passengers who frequently use its services to travel. Also, the station will be in a better position to cope with peak time periods as additional entry and exit points surrounding the platforms will be installed.

Another of the train stations in the northern area that will benefit from this new set of funding is Salford Crescent, which will receive a third platform as well as an improvement made to the tracks. Passengers using the station will be able to have more seamless journeys as less congestion will be on hand and there will be fewer possibilities of overcrowding.

Transport Secretary, Mark Harper, spoke on the government's funding, commenting: "This investment supports our commitment to transforming journeys across the north by achieving much-needed infrastructure improvements in Manchester."

He also spoke on the importance of the investment and what it means for the future, saying: "Today's funding, alongside major projects like HS2, the TransPennine route upgrade and Northern Powerhouse Rail, demonstrates our pledge to improving opportunities for passengers across the region and leaving a positive impact for generations to come."

Last December saw the government invest £84 million into a new timetable launch which would go towards a more effective timetable whilst electric trains would receive bigger platforms and more seating so that there would be more space for passengers to manoeuvre during their journeys.

This had a positive outcome as there has already been a drop of 40 per cent from 2019 to 2020 in central Manchester regarding delays. This decrease is viewed as a major step forward in improving the passenger travel experience and is well beyond the expectations set when the £84 million was invested.

The Rail Minister touched on what the improvement in the rail facilities will mean for the area, stating: "This new investment will help make train services more reliable for the people of Manchester and beyond, marking another milestone in a decade's worth of rail improvements across the region."

Merriman also mentioned the positive impact the funding to the stations would bring, saying: "An efficient railway is key to levelling up and the improvements achieved through this package will help boost local economies and connect people to opportunities, as well as friends and family."

Network Rail, Transport for Greater Manchester, Transport for the North and local train operators have banded together as the Manchester Task Force to help evolve the train services in the northern area in the next decade.

Managing Director at Network Rail, Tim Shoveller, spoke on the collaboration amongst the relevant parties, stating: "The rail industry has come together to work on these proposals, building into a long-term vision that will get the best for our passengers and freight users alike."

Network Rail has now shelved proposals for a planning application to operate on Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Oxford Road and Manchester Airport after the government requested different options that would benefit the passengers and build on the already placed £26 million to upgrade the three stations. The original plan formed a decade ago included two new platforms, platforms 15 and 16, being installed at Manchester Piccadilly.

Shoveller alluded to the changes and new future plans, confirming "We also have ambitious plans for the future of Manchester Oxford Road. We're removing our previous planning application so we can move forward with a new approach, something we'll be consulting residents and businesses on later in the year."

The government's plan to support Manchester's services also contains the recently put-in-place trailblazer devolution deal. This will support the reform of local rail in the northern area and will include testing out new pay-as-you-go ticketing services plus transport experiences on the Bee Network which resemble London transport services.

The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, spoke on the trailblazer devolution deal and mentioned the benefits it can have. He pronounced: "Through the task force and our trailblazer deal, we will continue working with government and the industry to help shape the comprehensive package of improvements needed to transform rail travel and support our growing economy so that we can create more jobs and homes."

Amongst this wave of investment into Britain's train and rail industry generating interest and positivity, much of the discussion in the surrounding landscape has revolved around train staff striking[1]. Multiple strikes have taken place this year in many sectors, not just the rail industry and more are set to take place in the coming weeks as upcoming trains strikes[2] are set to heavily affect big sporting events such as the FA Cup final and Epsom derby.


  1. ^ train staff striking (
  2. ^ upcoming trains strikes (