A consultation on the development of the railway between Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Oxford Road stations will be launched next week.
Network Rail is proposing to build two additional platforms at Piccadilly station and widen the existing viaduct through the city towards Oxford Road station as part of its £1bn+ investment in the rail network in the north of England.
The improvements are part of the Northern Hub project and will help to deliver faster, more frequent services and stimulate economic growth as a result of improved connections between towns and cities.
Two additional platforms and a wider railway through central Manchester would allow an increase in the number of trains travelling through the city from 12 to 16 per hour in each direction. It would also help create quicker journey times as there would be greater flexibility for express services to pass those which stop more frequently.
Following a previous consultation last year Network Rail will present its final designs for the new sections of railway and discuss its proposals about how they would be built.
Ian Joslin, area director for Network Rail, said: “As part of investment totalling more than £1billion, the Northern Hub will help to meet the growing demands for rail travel and help to stimulate economic growth across the north of England.
“Along with our Ordsall Chord proposal to link Piccadilly and Victoria stations for the first time, which is currently being considered by secretary of state for transport, this is a vital part of our plans to develop the railway.
“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.”
Councillor Andrew Fender, chair of the TfGM 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 start of this consultation signals an important milestone and I encourage passengers, residents and businesses to take the opportunity to find out more about the scheme and the benefits it will bring.”