Funding to pave the way for major rail improvements in and around Greater Manchester has been welcomed by the region’s transport leaders.
The Chancellor announced in today’s Budget that £85 million has been allocated to plans that could see a new rail line, known as the Ordsall Chord, linking Victoria and Piccadilly stations as part of the Northern Hub.
This would allow for new connectivity for local and intercity services across Greater Manchester, potentially also linking via Salford Central and Oxford Road.
Greater Manchester Integrated Transport Authority (GMITA) welcomed the announcement as a first step towards the Northern Hub, a proposed programme of improvements to rail capacity and infrastructure around Greater Manchester that would benefit the north as a whole.
Councillor Ian Macdonald, Chair of GMITA, said: “Coming earlier than expected, this is excellent news for Greater Manchester – and for the wider north, as building the Ordsall Chord would mean faster journeys from Leeds, Liverpool, Bradford and Newcastle, would improve rail access to the Airport, and potentially provide better local connections to Manchester and Salford.
“The new line, which would be built mainly on brownfield land, would also take advantage of plans to improve Victoria and regenerate the area around it, as well as wider redevelopment in Salford and Manchester.
“It’s extremely encouraging to see an early commitment from the government to the Northern Hub, something we’ve been working towards along with Network Rail for the past three years.”
Councillor Keith Whitmore, Vice-hair of GMITA, said: “The Northern Hub proposals would provide a substantial boost to the region’s economy.
“Not only would the new line have considerable economic benefits once completed, but the construction of it would also create a significant number of jobs.
“The Northern Hub is an excellent scheme for the region and today’s announcement is a very positive start in making it a reality. The benefits to Greater Manchester in having the Northern Hub completed by 2019 are obvious, and we look forward to the government’s commitment to the scheme as a whole in the near future.”