In response to bottlenecks and poor punctuality of trains travelling through Manchester, a public consultation has launched on three proposals to make rail services more reliable.
Passengers have been presented with three alternatives to pre-Covid service patterns, affecting routes travelling between Manchester’s Oxford Road, Piccadilly, and Airport stations, and will have repercussions for passengers travelling in and out of Stockport’s stations.
The consultation is the result of collaboration between the Department for Transport, Transport for the North, Transport for Greater Manchester, rail operators and Network Rail. Poor punctuality of services across Manchester city centre contributed to the nationalisation of Northern Rail in 2020, and performance improvement plans for TransPennine Express.
The proposed service changes may see certain local routes, such as those towards Hazel Grove and Buxton and stopping services to Manchester Airport and Crewe increase in frequency, while other routes may see services withdrawn. One proposal would remove direct services between Manchester Aiport and both Sheffield and Warrington removed to improve capacity at Piccadilly.
Dependent on the outcome of the consultation, a new timetable is expected to be introduced by May 2022.
Liam Robinson, Transport for the North’s Rail North Committee Chair said:
Passengers need a better deal when it comes to reliability. When they return to the North’s trains, they need to step onto services with confidence.
“Manchester’s congested rail network has long been the source of delays and frustration for passengers, with knock-on effects for the North’s communities. We urge everyone to take a look and give their view on these proposals.
“Whilst the goal of these short term changes is to reduce delays and increase reliability, it is clear that the work we are doing with Government and the industry on longer-term investment in rail infrastructure is also critically important, alongside changes to services.”
Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester and Transport for the North Board Member, 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.”
Detailed information about the proposals and how to take part in the consultation is available from the Transport for the North website.