Latest Rail News

26.09.16

Additional £20m funding needed to expand Salford Central station

Plans to expand Salford Central station in order to accommodate longer trains are due to be approved at a Greater Manchester Combined Authority meeting on Friday, although they will require more funding than initially thought.

According to a report published ahead of the meeting, Central Salford Urban Regeneration and Network Rail first developed plans to reopen the disused platforms 3, 4 and 5 at Salford Central in 2011.

In 2014, Greater Manchester Combined Authority approved plans which would accommodate at least six-car platforms at the station.

However, it emerged that the signalling and track layout on the Ordsall Chord, a new rail link between Piccadilly and Victoria stations, would make it impossible for Salford Central to accommodate more than four-car trains.

Work on the Ordsall Chord began this year after it was delayed by a legal challenge from Mark Whitby, a former president of the Institution of Civil Engineers, who had proposed an alternative scheme for the development.

Transport for Greater Manchester and Salford City Council considered alternative options including more frequent services; extensions to platforms 3, 4 and 5; and allowing longer trains to use the platforms with their front and rear doors.

In April this year, the Northern franchise merged with Arriva, whilst FirstGroup took sole control of the TransPennine Express franchise. This made it more likely that longer trains will be operating in Manchester in the medium term – for example, TransPennine said it would use five-car trains from 2018.

The report also notes that the station is in a “prime location” and there is “strong support” for the improvements, with local businesses renting property near the site in expectation of increased capacity.

As a result of the Ordsall Chord works, developers have installed a new signal gantry to the west of the station, which prevents expansion in that direction. The station will therefore have to be expanded to the east to include the New Bailey Street bridge area, which was not included in the original plans.

In the report, Transport for Greater Manchester proposes a two-stage approach: platform and canopy enhancement on platforms 1 and 2, to be completed by December 2017; and reinstatement and extensions of platforms 3, 4 and 5, to be finished by 2019.

It adds that the cost of the work, estimated to be £20m, cannot come out of “the already over-programmed Network Rail budget” and “will have to be found locally”.

There is also scope for additional work, including enhanced waiting facilities at the station (which will be funded from the Manchester Growth Deal and Network Rail’s CP5 funding) and work to maximise the number of trains that passing through it.

Network Rail is currently seeking to reduce its funding shortfall, which could reach £50bn by the end of the decade, although it recently abandoned plans to sell off its telecoms network.

In a recent speech, Mark Carne, the head of Network Rail, said that the infrastructure owner should “behave like a business” and seek private investment.

There is also scope for additional work, including enhanced waiting facilities at the station (which will be funded from the Manchester Growth Deal and Network Rail’s CP5 funding) and work to maximise the number of trains that can use it.

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Comments

Andrew Gwilt   26/09/2016 at 23:15

Plus this could also be part of the Northern Powerhouse scheme.

David   28/09/2016 at 21:02

There is no "Northern Powerhouse" scheme, Andrew. It's entirely political propaganda.

Nehul Khatpe   09/02/2017 at 07:13

There is cut throat competition. Companies are running out of profits in order to firm good grip in the market. You know even IndiaBizClub is also marking progress in getting new businesses listed

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