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NR promises Manchester airport services via Ordsall Chord by end of 2017

Services from different locations in the north will run to Manchester airport via the new Ordsall Chord from December 2017 as part of a programme of increased services promised by Network Rail today.

The Ordsall Chord, a rail link between the city’s Piccadilly, Victoria and Oxford Road stations, is currently under construction.

Network Rail said the changes would be introduced in phases as part of the Northern Programmes series of upgrades. From December 2017, there will also be electric trains running between Manchester and Preston via Bolton, and new connections into Manchester from the Calder Valley.

Martin Frobisher, Network Rail’s London North Western route managing director, said: “Rail investment in the north is at its highest level right now since tracks were first laid in the 1800s.

"Already customers in the north are benefitting from faster, more frequent, more reliable trains services. And there is a host of further improvements still to come. Seeing the economy-boosting Northern Programmes unfold is really exciting."

David Hoggarth, director of Rail North, added that the Northern Programmes represent the start of a transformation of rail services across the north.

“Both Rail North and Transport for the North are clear that this type of long-term investment in transport is exactly what is needed to drive economic growth,” he explained. “In a project of this scale, there will be challenges, but the rewards this project will bring will last for generations to come.”

From 2018, Northern will introduce an hourly direct service from Newcastle to Manchester airport, which will also mean an extra hourly service between Leeds and Newcastle, and six trains an hour between Manchester Victoria and Rochdale.

It also promised frequency and capacity improvements across the Northern network and a ‘weekday service’ seven days a week for TransPennine Express, more than double the existing capacity on Sundays.

On 1 April this year, Arriva took over the Northern franchise, while First Group took sole control of TransPennine Express. Both companies promised programmes of improvement to rolling stock and services.

Leo Goodwin, managing director for TransPennine Express, said: “Investment in our railway is vital to improving the North’s connectivity, bringing our towns and cities closer and in turn improving our customer’s journeys with us. 

“These improvements will help to provide additional and faster services, transforming rail travel across the North and into Scotland.”

Alex Hynes, managing director for Northern, added that this programme will deliver “transformational improvements to the services we offer our customers.”

He noted that the phased approach will “enable us to launch new services, such as new direct routes into Manchester, as infrastructure upgrades are delivered”.

Additional improvements promised between now and 2022 include:

  • An extra three services an hour from Liverpool Lime Street once upgrades are complete, including a Liverpool to Glasgow direct service along with a direct service to Edinburgh.
  • More trains between Manchester and Blackburn.
  • A new station at Low Moor, which will open in 2017.
  • The new Maghull Northstation in Liverpool.
  • Future-proofing of the Wirral line, meaning it will require less maintenance.
  • Improved platforms, ticket office and car park at Newton-le-Willows.
  • A fourth track between Huyton and Roby stations.
  • Major re-signalling work between Weaver Junction and Wavertree junction as  part of delivering Digital Railway.

Network Rail also said that new depots would be built in Cheshire and Greater Manchester to house the additional rolling stock required for the improvements.

 (Image c. Network Rail)

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Andrew Gwilt   10/11/2016 at 21:17

A new Manchester Express rail franchise could happen with a new Manchester Victoria-Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly-Manchester Airport direct service to start once the new Ordsall Chord is completed and fully operational and electrified with extra trains operating to/from Manchester's 3 stations.

David   10/11/2016 at 22:54

There are already non-stop trains to Manchester Airport, Andrew.

Hi   11/11/2016 at 21:58

When will Barrow in Furness ever be mentioned and bringing us into 20th century oh sorry 21 century!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Andrew Gwilt   12/11/2016 at 08:52

Right. Thanks David.

LDC   14/11/2016 at 09:54

More services to the Airport? there no other station in Manchester area,that needs a better service..passengers from Stockport have to go into Manchester to go to the Pennines,because we lost the hourly service to Stalybridge..the re-introduction of a connection to the Pennines from Sth Manchester is a way forward,not more trains to the already congested line to the airport..also Reddish North,and Denton would get more than a "once a week,one-way" service...and invest, by wiring it up,to provide an electrified alternative route,and maybe round to Victoria...showcasing a new link,and services? improve what we have first..

Don Pickford   14/11/2016 at 12:29

Come on Network Rail/ Arriva,really show you mean to improve services,by simply reinstating the Stockport/Stalybridge link.Then people from S Manchester can get access to Trans Pennine travel,without wasting time, going via Piccadilly.

Pdeaves   15/11/2016 at 18:41

Apparently, according to the article, "From 2018, Network Rail will introduce an hourly direct service...". Frankly, I don't think Network Rail will introduce any services. Northern, surely?

Greg   18/10/2017 at 18:31

The chord is all very well, and theres no doubt that it will will make great improvements, but there is still a heck of a lot to do in the area (a proper reddish south to stalybrige service, another cross-pennine route, electrification across the pennines, more frequent commuter services, nes rollinv stock to name but a few). How about seeing some REAL investment lkke london rail gets???

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