Latest Rail News

11.09.14

Manchester viaduct and station improvements to boost capacity

The central Manchester Northern Hub station improvements are being explained to the public at Network Rail consultation events from next week.

It wants to build two new platforms and Piccadilly and widen the viaduct through the city towards Oxford Road stations, boosting capacity by a third, from 12 to 16 trains per hour in each direction.

The plans link in with those for the Ordsall Chord plans to link Manchester’s Piccadilly and Victoria stations, which are still under consideration by the transport secretary following a public inquiry in the spring.

Network Rail says the station and viaduct improvements are vital to unclog Manchester’s rail bottlenecks and will eventually improve journey times too, by providing more flexibility to fast services to pass stopping ones. If approved, construction work will start in 2016, with services using the new track and platforms from 2018.

Area director Ian Joslin said: “This level of building and engineering through the centre of Manchester is a significant challenge and we are keen to speak to as many people as possible ahead of our final proposals being submitted.”

The Northern Hub itself is part of a wider ‘North of England Programme’ of investment, also including electrification schemes, costing about £1bn. RTM interviewed Network Rail’s principal sponsor for the region, Martin Jurkowski, about those plans here.

Cllr Andrew Fender, chair of the Transport for Greater Manchester committee, said: “The projects the Northern Hub investment will deliver are essential for us to bring our Victorian rail infrastructure into the modern age and ensure it can accommodate more trains and passengers both now and long into the future.

“But it is a programme that is very much the sum of its parts and the additional links between Piccadilly and Oxford Road are a crucial part of the overall piece.”

The station are track improvements are also a good example of BIM (building information modelling) in action. Mungo Stacy of Parsons Brinckerhoff, which has done design work for the Manchester Northern Hub station projects, explained that in more detail to RTM here.

fig 10 vertical piccadilly

The consultation takes place until Friday 3 October, with drop-in events taking place in the city from Monday 15 September where Network Rail will answer questions. Details of those events are here.

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

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