A new timetable for Manchester has been agreed on by Northern leaders and the Government
The new timetable aims to bring service delays down by 25% and hopes to bring improvements in punctuality and journey times for passengers.
The rail industry has worked together with local stakeholders to bring the changes in direct response to the concerns of local rail travellers following an extensive public consultation which was carried out in January 2021.
Rail services in and around Manchester will benefit from the new timetable by December 2022 which has been designed with the needs of passengers at its heart and will support the 150,000 regular passengers who use the network.
The new timetable will see:
- Direct Manchester Airport connectivity for Liverpool, Chester and North Wales retained
- An hourly service that will run between Southport, Wigan and Manchester Oxford Road all-day
- A second hourly service from Southport to Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge all-day
Further details of services are still being refined before the launch and will see ongoing public involvement in the process.
The changes to services will see the wider Manchester area closely connected while bottlenecks will become unblocked. The new timetable will enhance the service mix across a number of ‘hotspots’, which include congestion in the Castlefield area of Manchester. This bottleneck has constrained the flow of rail services for years with a knock-on effect of generating millions of minutes of costly and damaging delays.
The timetable has been made by the cross-industry Manchester Recovery Task Force which is made up of the Department for Transport, Transport for the North, Transport for Greater Manchester, Network Rail and the train operators Northern and TransPennine Express.
The views of locals have been reflected in this first step as part of a wider strategy which will see ambitious infrastructure plans being developed. Early phase infrastructure is also targeted and will see work start in the middle of this decade, and will support the delivery of better journeys for passengers whilst building a modern rail network for Greater Manchester and the North.
Chris Heaton-Harris Rail Minister said: “This new timetable has been built around the voices of Manchester that helped design it, focused on cutting delays on Manchester’s railways and boosting punctuality.
Our plan for rail sets out our commitment to putting passengers first when it comes to our rail network. The work we are doing to fix Manchester’s railways, which were bursting at the seams pre-pandemic, is all part of us building back better from COVID-19.”
Liam Robinson, Chair of the Rail North Committee, representing Northern leaders on the task force, said: “This part of the network is the buckle in the belt of the North’s rail network. It has to be able to do its job. The interim service solution in this consultation is, inevitably a compromise, but it allows us the chance to run more reliable services until the task force can deliver on infrastructure solutions to enable the network to run as it needs to.
What’s important is that we now have a commitment from government and the rail industry to develop and deliver a railmap which will enable us to build back services in a smarter and more intelligent way and provide an exit strategy from the temporary timetable we need in the interim.”
Louise Gittins, Interim Chair of Transport for the North, said: “While rail travel has been significantly suppressed by the COVID-19 pandemic, all our data suggests that in a relatively short time this rail corridor will, once again, be under severe pressure unless we take action now.
The task force has, in phase 1 of this consultation, put forward a strategic framework for rail services, which rail operators will now consult with the public on in detail. What really matters is that, while this work is going on, simultaneously, significant work will be underway to address some of the fundamental structural issues of this network that need fixing.”
The latest railway news
Railway Discounts, 4k Video, pictures and more!
Signup to our daily and weekly newsletters
Railway Prints, DVD’s / Blu-Ray’s, books and more
Come and share your railway pictures
UK STEAM INFO
Upcoming mainline steam tours/loco movements