11 April, 2008 – Greater Manchester is on board for high speed railway
Manchester to London in 90 minutes could become a reality if a new high-speed rail link study bears fruit.
Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority (GMPTA) today signed up to join a new Public Interest Group that will explore the potential for a 300kmph-plus service from Manchester to Birmingham and London.
The group aims to submit its findings to the Department for Transport by April 2009 – in time for consideration as part of a government study into long-term transport funding.
Greengauge 21 – the not-for-profit organisation set up to promote the development of high-speed rail in Britain – invited GMPTA to join the group earlier this year.
Councillor Allen Brett, Vice Chair of GMPTA, said: "High-speed rail has the potential to bring massive economic and environmental benefits on a national scale.
"I’m very pleased that Greengauge 21 has recognised the role Greater Manchester has to play in that.
"Although this high-speed rail connection is still a long way from becoming a reality – at least 15 years – now is the right time to take the concept to the next stage.
"We can see the potential on offer for Greater Manchester and that is why we are getting on board with this study at its very beginning."
The group will fund and oversee a development programme that takes the concept of high-speed rail forward, including the possibility of a line linking Manchester and London, to become a realistic proposal.
It will assess the specifics – such as the technical requirements, key sites, funding and consultations – before producing a range of options.
Network Rail has agreed to help take the development programme forward and the DfT, the Office of Rail Regulation and the Association of Train Operating Companies will have ‘observer status’ throughout.
GMPTA will also support the study with a financial contribution. The study is expected to cost up to £660,000 overall.
Source: GMPTE press release