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Northern Rail Hub Must Happen Say City Leaders

Don't drive vital infrastructure improvements off the rails say councils

Published on February 13th 2012.

Northern Rail Hub Must Happen Say City Leaders

MANCHESTER City Council has joined forces with four other cities in the north of England to urge the government to fund the Northern Hub programme, a major rail improvement scheme that would generate £4bn in economic benefits.

We need more capacity on our railways and faster, more frequent rail links between our cities, and that’s what the Northern Hub can deliver.

The leaders of Manchester, Sheffield, Liverpool, Leeds and Newcastle City Councils have written jointly to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to stress how important it will be for the Treasury to commit to the £560 million scheme, in full, for delivery between 2014 and 2019.

The Northern Hub proposals, developed by Network Rail, would unlock the capacity constraints of the north’s rail network – currently a significant obstacle to economic growth – and would enable 700 more trains to run every day across the region.

This equates to around 44 million more passenger journeys every year, making rail travel a more attractive option for commuting, business and leisure and generating up to 30,000 regional jobs.

As well as the full support of the five biggest cities in the north, the Northern Hub also has public support, with over 83 per cent of those surveyed agreeing with the scheme and 80 per cent saying they will be more likely to travel by train if the plans are carried out.

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) is working with council leaders, MPs and business communities across the north to push for the Northern Hub to be funded as a complete package, rather than on a piecemeal basis, in order for the economic potential of the scheme to be fulfilled.

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “This isn’t a situation where we’re competing for funding with other cities: we’ll all benefit from the boost to jobs and the economy that the Hub will provide.

“If Greater Manchester and the wider north are to reach their full economic potential, we need more capacity on our railways and faster, more frequent rail links between our cities, and that’s what the Northern Hub can deliver.”

Councillor Andrew Fender, Chair of the TfGM Committee, said: “The Northern Hub scheme has clear and significant benefits for Greater Manchester and the whole of the north of England.

“It makes sense for us to work with the other major cities in the region to support the Hub proposals by urging the Chancellor to commit to funding them in full, and soon.”

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20 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Simon SmithFebruary 13th 2012.

The government can't be impressed with the ham-fisted and incompetent mess that Manchester's councils and other public bodies have made of the Metrolink.

Why should they pour more money in?

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousFebruary 13th 2012.

Not sure what "mess" you are referring to? That a bargain basement system run on a shoestring with worn out infrastructure, starved of investment until very recently and attempting to cope with demand in way excess of what it was designed for now demonstrates its frailty every now and again?

You're right though, better get one of those excellent private bus companies in to run it that are so renowned for the quality of their service, value for money and proportionate and modest profit. Hmmm...

VerbatimFebruary 14th 2012.

I'm with anonymous on this. Metrolink was built on the cheap by the government at the time. Most of the issues we are now seeing today are a direct result of this.

But it is currently going through billions of pounds worth of improvements. In 5 years time the current unrelabilty will probably be a distant memory.

LukeFebruary 13th 2012.

That is true Simon, but lets face it this time in 5 billion years we will have a high speed rail link, days trips to Birmingham anyone?

John BrightFebruary 13th 2012.

Having said all that, I love Manchester and I love the place we have created. Metrolink is incidental. In Europe we are a compromise culture not as tuned in as the Dutch and the Germans in harnessing infrastructure into quality of life, not quite as capable of garnering EU grants to do it for us as the Mediterraneans have been, but one that stumbles around getting on with it. Something to be proud of...well maybe...but it's just what we are. And there for remarkably free.

DavidFebruary 13th 2012.

Tory governments always seem more receptive to the city than Labour ones in terms of investment.Remember it was a Tory government that provided the financial backing to rebuild the city cente after the IRA bomb.
Despite all the local Labour MPs,the last government continually short changed the city when it comes to transport investment.It tried to blackmail the city residents into accepting a London style congestion charge,in return for transport investment.
The northern rail hub plans are actually very well thought out.They would significantly improve capacity,speed and frequency of connections,across the north.They would also lead to the very much needed restoration of Victoria Station,which is one of the landmark buildings in Manchester.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousFebruary 14th 2012.

David, of course it was a Tory government because the bomb went off in June 1996 and the Labour government was elected in May 1997. At that point they immediately set to work in a practical way to reach a more lasting solution. Mo Mowlam helped establish new protocols and progress was made. Thankfully.

the Whalley RangerFebruary 13th 2012.

This is a huge opportunity which ought not to be missed. 'Infrastructure' has rightly been identified as lacking in many ways, not just with respect to train track capacity.

Once we come to terms with the fact that we are on to a major make-or-break issue here, the following questions will puzzle us:

a) are the decision-makers man enough to realise that the privatisation of infrastructure was a massive mistake? The mistake of allowing private shareholders to profit from 'public' transport rather than feeding profits back into the system for the benefit of all?

Could this be reversed? Europe has demonstrated how it's done and what benefits with respect to cleanliness, comfort, affordability and reduction of social stigma could be achieved without much effort.

b) will society grasp this chance of ridding itself from the claws of the car? We are not the United States, our cities are not huge, our countryside not vast. To a foreigner's eye, weird journeys like the british 'school run' can only appear as a total and utter waste of travel capacity. Totally inefficient, absolute madness once you add up the hours of lost productivity by all those overqualified driver-dads and mums!

Getting ourselves more organised will not result - as some might suggest - in a loss of our freedom, but take the stress out of the whole process of travel we currently suffer from so severely.

It's the city, duffusFebruary 13th 2012.

We need an OYSTER CARD for Greater Manchester!

Guess why it's not happning?

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Private travel fat catFebruary 13th 2012.

My interests?

VerbatimFebruary 14th 2012.

An oyster like system would much more difficult to impliment in Manchetester because of the many private bus companies each with different fare structures. In London TFL has full control over these aspects and only central government could bring in a similar system to Manchester.

Sir ShredFebruary 14th 2012.

Bingo, Verbatim!

Have a look at this repeat pattern of renumeration at Stagecoach below. My pension pot is peanuts compared to their payouts!



Where's all that cash from? YOUR fares, hahaha

DavidFebruary 13th 2012.

Oyster Cards would be great,as could use train,bus and tram,without need to keep buying different tickets.

Also we have had ticket machines at Geater Manchester train stations for years and yet they still not set up to dispense any of the evening budget tickets.This is crazy.

Until the building of the arena took a lot of its platforms,Victoria was the bigger station in Manchester.It also always feels much more central to the city than Piccadilly.But it has suffered from chronic neglect over the years.It deserves better than that,as it is a wonderful building.

1 Response: Reply To This...
It's the city, duffusFebruary 14th 2012.

The Victoria Station refurb/ expansion works are at bidding stage, down to the last two bidders...

Kevin PeelFebruary 15th 2012.

Could not agree more with the huge importance of funding this scheme. We must release capacity on our railways to improve journey times, increase the number of trains and unlock jobs and growth.

RobertFebruary 15th 2012.

since we poo po'd the conjestion charge looks like we have been forgot about re investment, i use northern rail everyday and it is a disgrace, and this big pulicity about getiing extra carrages is a joke as they where all hand me downs were is the new kit ??

DavidFebruary 16th 2012.

We have a government,and a civil sevice all London based.We have a national media who report on them,which are also mostly London based.So the bias to London is not surprising,as every day they are using London transport.They simply have no reason to care about transport here.This bias in funding has been made worse by the Olympics as well.

What we need is a political figure,with the power to change this.We need a mayor for Greater Manchester who can do what a London mayor can do.We need someone to speak on the national level for this city,to demand are fair share of investment from the treasury.Otherwise we will ALWAYS lose out to London.

Local MPs have been totally ineffective.The loyalty of the likes of Hazel Blears is to her party,they are never going to resign no matter how their party treats this city.The last Labour government lavished spending on London,yet not one local Labour MP did anything about this.It seems we should be content now with getting London hand me downs.Their old train carriages to overcome crowding on trains here.

DavidJuly 16th 2012.

The nasty nasty Con Government has given now all the money for Northern Rail Hub,Labour must be so happy.

Calum McGJuly 16th 2012.


It's the city, duffusJuly 16th 2012.

Morgan Sindall wins Victoria Station upgrade!

You heard it here first

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